I’ve always wanted to study abroad as I was intrigued by being indulged into different environments and cultures compared to what I’m used to. Ever since I went to Vietnam and Canada with my family, the experience of traveling sparked my interest. Generally, I have always been surrounded and involved with friends and schoolmates with diverse ethnicities, learning every bit of everyone’s culture.
Study abroad has always been on my mind – so when I found out the UHart Architecture Department allows its students to study at ISI Florence during the spring semester of their junior year, I was excited! However, since the pandemic hit, things went haywire – students that were in Florence just before Covid-19 hit (Spring 2020 semester), had to head back to the States. I didn’t know how long the pandemic would last, but this didn’t stop my determination to wanting to study abroad. When I found out about the opportunity to study in Florence in the fall semester from my professor (shout out to Prof. Ted Sawruk, he’s a real one!), that’s when I locked down on studying abroad as my main goal.
The journey to Florence was long and tiring, but worth it in regards of being able to travel abroad on my own for the first time. When I first arrived, Florence was foreign to me – but I had a goal in my mind to dwell myself into the Italian environment and culture, and Florence specifically. Being here for about a month and a half before the semester started, I was able to create connections among those who have come here to study abroad, as well as with some Italian locals (I was able to flex my newly learned Italian, but I’m così così – ENG. so so) I also had the opportunity to travel out of the city to beautiful places like Chianti – just looking at the landscapes puts me at ease. Florence is literally like a maze since the city is so condensed, but it’s so fun to explore and discover places that I haven’t notice earlier – and that’s when the adventurous aspect of myself appears. Architecture-wise, Florence is a must-go city to witness its flourishing beauty. Only by strolling, I’m literally walking on and witnessing history – and it blows my mind to imagine people from the past walking through these very streets. I can’t believe I’m in Florence right now and what I had to do to lead myself to this position. I must thank my professors (Ted, Crosbie, Fuller), and ISI Florence for making this trip happen – it’s really a life-changing experience.
In the end, it was my fiery passion for traveling that led me here and I must pat myself on the back!
As an E-Board member of NOMAS (National Organization of Minority Architecture Students) at the University of Hartford, for any architecture student and anyone thinking of studying abroad in Florence – it’s a must! The reason why I came to Florence was my interest in historical preservation and that’s visible throughout the city.
Patrick Sutton once said,
“Travel & seek out beauty… the more you have seen, the more depth of your visual library.”
As you travel throughout your life and continuously immerse yourself into different environments and cultures – you have a better understanding of how things work in certain places, and that will essentially implement your designing skills. And not only. Through traveling you can meet people, create relationships and connections –which might help you with your goals in the future.
Studying abroad is overall incredibly beneficial in regards to a life-changing experience, and I hope anyone who’s reading this blog will take it into consideration.
∼ Carpe Diem ∼
David Tran, University of Hartford Department of Architecture | ISI Florence Fall 2021
Secretary, UHART National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS)