After a two-year Covid-imposed absence from Florence, the Penn State University Human Development and Family Studies was happy to be back in our beloved city! Two faculty and nineteen students from Penn State spent the semester immersed in the HDFS course: Understanding the Italian Family: Historical and Cultural Contexts and then ten glorious days in Florence. Field trips included visits to Florentine preschools, the Federigo Enriques secondary school in Castelfiorentino, a cooking class at Chefactory, a visit to the central market, and more.
Students in the class found the experience to be transformative and enlightening. Many of them described how they were happy to get out of their Covid and cultural “bubbles” and explore a culture new to them and to see beyond the cultural stereotypes of Italians and Italian families. The experience has encouraged a number of them to refine their career plans to include more cross-cultural experiences and travel as well.
Robin Yaure, Professor of Teaching, HDFS, Penn State Mont Alto