Ask Former Students

Jenna Demuth
Spring 2018
Pennsylvania State University 
Email Jenna about her experience 

I am currently a junior at The Pennsylvania State University, and I will be graduating in the spring of 2019. I am a Biobehavioral Health Major, and I plan to attend medical school to become a physician in the future. .

 

Most Memorable Experience
My most memorable experience in Florence was being able to meet local Italian students who were introduced to me through ISI. These students, who I formed great friendships with, really helped me adjust to living in Florence. They allowed me to embrace the Italian culture in ways I could have never imagined. As I would teach them many aspects of the American life, I would learn about their culture too. Their friendship and guidance really shaped my life abroad. It was a unique experience that I will never forget! 

Advice for Future Students
My biggest piece of advice for future ISI Florence students is to be confident as you familiarize yourself with Florence and all that this awesome city has to offer. Throughout your study abroad experience, you will feel out of your comfort zone in many situations. However, I feel that you truly grow as a person when you try something that you would never imagine doing back home in the States. It is awesome to be able to explore Florence and other European cities, but I believe it is most important to get to know your own self better through this experience.


Jaclyn Anglin
Spring 2018
Quinnipiac University 
Email Jaclyn about her experience 

I am a Junior and will be graduating in the Spring of 2019 for my Bachelors Degree and I will be graduating in Spring 2020 for my Masters in Arts and Teaching. I am a Mathematics major and my goal for the future is to be a teacher, either Elementary or Secondary, and change the lives of those children in my community.

Most Memorable Experience
My most memorable experience in Florence has to be climbing the stairs to Piazzale Michelangelo one of the first few weekends in Florence. We had no idea where the stairs had lead to until after we reached the top! The views were incredible and from that moment I knew that my study abroad semester was going to be amazing and that I picked the right city. 

Advice for Future Students
My advice to future ISI Florence students would be to not be afraid of trying new things and really submerge yourself into the Italian culture. When you travel abroad, you will make so many different changes to your routine and lifestyle and that is okay, it is so exciting! There are so many things to see and experience in Florence, so make sure you have time to enjoy it all and take it all in. I would also suggest really getting to know the ISI staff because they are wonderful, helpful, and can really make your experience great, like they did for me!


Madison Rose
Spring 2018
Roger Williams University 
Email Madison about her experience 

Ciao studenti! I am currently a junior at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. I am pursuing a career in public relations and I am expecting to graduate in 2019. After completing my degree, I hope to head to NYC and work for an entertainment PR firm.

Most Memorable Experience
I had the opportunity to get involved in the community of Florence by participating in giving tours at the famous Basilica di Santa Croce. I was able to meet so many new people from all around the world and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I got to learn all about the church and its history and I would give tours to the most fascinating people. I was constantly learning and being enlightened with new facts. If you get the chance to get involved in the Florence community definitely do it!! You create a great reputation for your school and learn so much.  

Advice for Future Students
Believe me when I tell you that there is never enough time while you’re in Florence. Everything goes by so quickly so make sure you take advantage of every opportunity. Going abroad in itself is a HUGE step out of one’s comfort zone, so keep pushing those boundaries. I promise you won’t regret it! There are so many students from all over the world who study in Florence and they are all looking to make new friends so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. Florence will soon become your home and you’ll learn the way of the Italians. You will be a changed person when you come home and it will be for the better. You will have a newfound respect for culture and the Italian way, which you will learn all about when you come here. At first it is difficult with the language barrier, but keep practicing your Italian and try to speak it as much as possible. Even if you’re ordering a cappuccino, order it in Italian, they will appreciate the effort even if you don’t say it exactly right! Being in Florence was definitely a life changing experience for me and if I could I would go back and do it over in a heartbeat.


Cara Godas
Spring 2018
University of Connecticut
Email Cara about her experience 

I have just finished up my junior year here in Florence, and will be entering into my senior year in Fall 2018 at the University of Connecticut. I am double majoring in Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies and will be graduating in May 2019. I am still unsure of exactly what I want to do in the future, but I plan to work with children.

Most Memorable Experience
My most memorable experience here in Florence would probably be hiking up to the rose garden near Piazzale Michelangelo and hanging out with my friends on one of our last days. Usually everyone goes to Michelangelo to watch the sunset, but we decided to avoid the crowd and sit down in the grass of the gardens and share stories. It really made me appreciate the people that I was lucky enough to meet through studying abroad here, and made me fall even more in love with Florence in general.

Advice for Future Students
Don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new! I never thought that I would student teach at an Italian high school, but I tried it out and it ended up being one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Most importantly, treat Florence like it is your home, and not like this is a temporary situation. Explore the city and do new things, but do it the way you want, not because you feel it should be done in a certain way!


Cassandra Gross
Spring 2018
University of Maryland
Email Cassandra about her experience 

I am currently a Junior at the University of Maryland and will graduate in May of 2019. I am a History major with a Twentieth Century World concentration, and am also studying Creative Writing. I hope to pursue a career in publishing, specifically fiction, and maybe one day be a published writer myself.

 

Most Memorable Experience
My most memorable experience in Florence is tough to narrow down, but there was one beautiful day when I just explored on my own and basked in the sun in a grassy picnic area not too far from Piazza Michelangelo. I eavesdropped on the Italian conversations around me, read a little, and took pictures. It was just a chill day and I felt very connected to the pulse and spirit of the city, without the pressure of acting the tourist.

Advice for Future Students
My advice for future ISI students is to try to make some Italian friends! Talk to the administration about opportunities to meet local Italians, go to the local spots and participate in cultural activities as much as possible.


Suzanne O’Donnell
Spring 2018
University of Virginia
Email Suzanne about her experience 

I am entering my final year at the University of Virginia and am majoring in English. This summer I will be interning at Art Production Fund in New York and hope to work in communications within the art realm after graduating in the Spring of 2019.

 

Most Memorable Experience
One of my favorite things about being in Florence, as well as being a student in the ISI program, is the applicable subject matter you study in the city. I took two History of Art courses while a student in the ISI program. In both of the classes I took, we had site visits every week. I was able to tour and learn from our incredibly knowledgable teachers about buildings I passed everyday that I wasn’t familiar with before. This not only allows learning to become more engaging, but knowing so much about parts of the city allows you to develop a connection to it.

Advice for Future Students
I highly recommend exploring Florence whenever you have time. It’s easy to forfeit walking around Florence when you are exhausted from traveling on the weekends. Florence has so many amazing restaurants, cafes, museums, shops, and fun things to do all within an incredibly walkable distance. Also be sure to do all of the tourist-y things even if it seems lame to do so- they’re tourist attractions for a reason!