Category Archives: Study Abroad

Taking a Foreign Language while Abroad

Hi everyone!

This past semester when I was studying abroad I continued to work on my Japanese minor. While I really enjoyed taking the class in a different country and getting a different perspective, there were some unexpected challenges along the way! Here are some things to consider if you take a language class abroad.

1. Different pace or syllabus
I found that the class I took as a comparable class to Japanese 4 at FIT was a bit behind in grammar, but way ahead in vocab! I knew all the grammar concepts we covered, but definitely had to hustle to catch up on vocab we were expected to know. I would recommend checking the syllabus to see what will be covered, as each teacher has a different teaching pace.  Additionally, we were using a different textbook.  In a language, where everything builds upon itself, knowing where you stand in the classes comprehension is really important!

2. Similarities to local language
Japanese and Cantonese (the local language where I studied) have a lot of overlap in the characters used! Thankfully the professor understood that I hadn’t been writing in the system since primary school, and allowed me to use other systems of writing. I did try my best to study as many characters as possible while there, even though we were not tested on them like we are at FIT. If you find you’re behind in an area, be sure to discuss with your professor and do your best to catch up.

3. More opportunities to practice!
In NYC I barely get a chance to speak Japanese, but while I was abroad I got to travel and test my speaking abilities! This was by far the most beneficial experience for me, I learned I still have a long ways to go when it comes to numbers- which is good to know. I can now focus more studying on that.

It can be really difficult to take a language where local students have more experience in it.  My friends taking Mandarin ran into a lot of issues, since Cantonese and Mandarin are a lot closer than English and Mandarin.  They definitely had to work even harder to make sure they kept up!  Once you get past the first level of a language, the classes do get more challenging, but I think learning a second (or third!) language is worth the extra effort you have to put in.

Overall, I would really recommend taking a language as a minor at FIT, and working on it while you are abroad if you have the chance.  It is a lot of work sometimes, but it looks great on your resume, and being able to communicate with someone you might not have been able to is incredibly rewarding.

What language would you minor in?

Sam

Online Classes at FIT

Last semester was my first time trying online classes. I had never taking an online class before, so I was definitely not too happy to be taking two online classes and in another time zone. However, I had no other choice because I was studying abroad, and these classes weren’t offered there.

Class #1 was an Intro to Biology

Class #2 was Organizational Communication and Workplace Relations

For starters, the professors were great! They were clear and posted everything so that we had enough time to complete all assignments. Not only theirs, but also spend time in our other major-related projects. Overall it was a fair amount of work.

The assignments went had-in-hand with the textbook and resources provided by the professors. If you aren’t able to purchase a hardcover textbook, like I wasn’t, you can either rent or purchase the online version of the textbook.

Throughout the semester, the professors made sure we were keeping up, sending emails, reminders, making sure we participated in the class discussions, etc.

One of the reasons I liked taking these online classes was that I can complete the assignments in my spare time, after coming from my other day classes in Florence. I did not think that I would enjoy taking these online classes, especially with the time zone difference, I thought I would have issues to upload everything on time. I actually found myself registering for another online class for this upcoming semester, which came in handy because I had already chosen my main courses and did not want to rearrange it so much.

There are many courses at FIT that you can take online, from liberal arts to major-related. Check out the FIT Website for more info.

Have a great weekend,

Maria

Finding Materials in Florence, Italy

Hello TIGERS!

Finding the right materials in Florence, Italy for projects might be a whole adventure around the city. It takes a lot of curiosity to find the right places to shop for fabrics, trims, buttons, that you might be looking for. The following is a list of stores and markets that will help you through your search!

  1. Bacci – Located in the central market, in between all the local leather-goods vendors, this store was my go to when it came to buying fabrics for garments. They had such a wide range of fabrics, from linings to linen, from silk to velvet, even wool and Alpaca. Prices are good and there is a student discount.
  2. Giesse – This fabric store is located in between Florence City Center and Polimoda Design Lab in Scandicci. It is very convenient as a one-stop store, with a variety of supplies including: fabrics, trims, design tools, etc. Towards the back of the store, they have a container with remnants of fabrics with great prices since they are the final pieces.
  3. Cascine Market – Located in the Cascine Park right along the Arno River is one of the largest markets in the city. You can find anything you may need for your household, but most importantly it is a great place to find trims, ribbons, buttons, zippers, etc. There are also vendors with fabrics and you can find lace in some booths too. The market is also great for thrifting, prices are pretty cheap, and the great thing is that the market is so big there is so much you can find!
  4. Haberdashery Samba Di Villani Carmela – Located near the Duomo, this tiny store is great for ribbons and any extra embellishments you may want to use in projects. They have some beautiful brooches, appliques, buckles for belts, etc.

These were some of the ones that I went to the most and found great materials in each. There are, however, other stores, it all depends on the quality that you are looking for. There are some stores that have the finest of finest fabrics, it all depends on your budget.

Until next time,

Maria

Study Abroad Reflection

Hi everyone!

I just got back to America after four and a half months abroad in Hong Kong.  While I am still navigating the jet lag (it’s a struggle!) I have had some time to think back on what I have learned over the past semester.

Getting to experience college life in another country is wild.  You get to meet your peers from other countries, learn from different teaching styles, and try out a new way of life.  Changing everything, from eating habits to sleeping schedules to living arrangements, is difficult.  But being out of your element gives you a lot of room to grow.

Part of why I wanted to study abroad was to try out life in Hong Kong.  As Production Management is an incredibly global major, there is a chance I might have the opportunity to work abroad in Hong Kong.  And while I loved living there for a few months, there are definitely some things I would have to consider before going there for longer!  Finding healthy food options was hard for me, and I definitely felt the time difference challenges when it came to connecting with friends and family back home.  While I could see myself possibly working abroad, it was good to try it out before taking a larger, more indefinite plunge.

Overall, I would recommend study abroad to anyone who is up for a challenge.  It is not easy, but it sure is rewarding.  Go in with an open mind and you will be surprised by everything!

Best,

Sam

Why you should consider Studying Abroad

Hello EVERYONE!

People say all good things come to an end, sometimes it is true. The semester is over here in Florence and I’m on my way back to the states.

In today’s post I will share with you why I think you should definitely consider studying abroad!

Before stepping foot on the plane to Italy, I had many concerns and questions, this is why I suggest that you do plenty of research before committing to a study abroad program. There are many resources at FIT that can guide you and help you find the best fit. It all depends on the major you are studying and what you want to accomplish.

Next step is choosing how long you want to study abroad for. There are programs that run for just a few weeks, to a semester-long or full year. A question you may want to ask yourself is: “How long can I be away from home?”. The short-term programs are great to experience another city quite quickly and learn some new techniques in the major chosen to explore. The longer terms let you explore the city, submerge in the culture, and really learn new industry techniques. It all depends on you!

Once you have everything all set you can then start researching about the culture, local customs, anything else that you might find interesting exploring once you get there. Make sure you breath in as much as possible. Think outside the box, at first it may be a little uncomfortable to be in a city where the language is not the same, but you will definitely get the hang of things after a few weeks!

The experience is like no other and the amount of knowledge acquired over this time period you are abroad is priceless.

For much more information about the many study abroad programs please visit the FIT website:http://www.fitnyc.edu/study-abroad/index.php

 

Until next week!

Maria