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Hannah Hardenbergh

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On Taking the Leap Abroad and Returning Home

Sep 6, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An American History and Literature major at Harvard College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In her last post, Hannah reflects on her choice to study abroad in the summer and how she gained confidence to reach past cultural barriers to connect with locals and Florence's rich art and history.

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At first, I thought studying abroad didn’t really fit into my life as a student-athlete in college. As a Nordic skier, it’s hard to take more than a month off from training, and quite challenging to take a semester abroad and have a successful training year in preparation for the racing season. Though it’s been done, I simply wanted to focus on training, academics, and social events on campus at Harvard. However, this past year I had been nursing a foot injury, and when I found out about CAPA’s 6-week program, I decided that it would be a really great opportunity to study abroad while recuperating from my injury. I wasn’t 100% sure about the trip, even as I boarded the plane.

In Siena with My Friend TaylorMy new study abroad friend, Taylor, and I in Siena.

My friends and roommates had consulting and campaigning jobs lined up for the summer in hopes of finding a way to enter job markets for a future career, and meanwhile it seemed like I was dropping everything and fleeing to look at sculptures and arches for a while. However, I had forgotten that, despite constantly comparing myself to others, indulging in art and culture is what I have loved doing in my classes all along, and living in a new and exciting culture abroad was exactly what I wanted to be doing.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Why Study Abroad

My Global City: A Pasta Making Class at Cookery World

Sep 3, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An American History and Literature major at Harvard College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Hannah discusses her hands-on experience with Italian cuisine and how this encouraged more interactions with locals in Florence.

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One of CAPA’s excellent opportunities for me to engage with the culture of my study abroad city is their My Global City events. These events, ranging from boat rides down the Arno river and hikes in nearby Tuscan hills to attending lectures taught by visiting authors, encourage students to see a culture through new experiences and to learn about different customs through being active in the local community. I went to a CAPA My Global City event at Cookery World on Borgo San Frediano, in the Santo Spirito neighborhood (south of the Arno river)—for cooking school!

Recipe from Cookery WorldA photo of our recipes on a Cookery World pamphlet signed by Alberto himself!

There, I met up with a group of CAPA students from my Italian class to learn how to cook dishes with pasta fresca, risotto, and cantucci—almond biscuits that are traditionally served. Our teacher, Alberto, led us in making fresh dough balls, flattening and drying the dough, cutting the dough with the pasta cutter, and boiling it to perfection. Alberto was amiable and curious about our lives as students in the States.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Food in Florence, My Global City

On Meeting Locals, Blending In, and Stereotypes in Florence and Siena

Aug 23, 2018 1:30:00 PM / by Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An American History and Literature major at Harvard College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Hannah details her experiences with Florentines, representing Americans abroad, and attending the Palio di Siena race in Siena.

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As an American study abroad student, I was aware of how I would stick out in Florentine culture. During our CAPA orientation, we were warned that American students had unfortunately gained a negative reputation in Florence. For example, they are well-known for binge drinking at the bars at night and getting perhaps too out of control. We learned that Italians have a different approach about drinking, and it is a part of their culture to enjoy good wine and alcohol with food. My roommates and I were determined to be mindful as we represented ourselves abroad.

Hannah with a Neckerchief for Contrada della Oca in SienaI bought a neckerchief for the Contrada della Oca—the house of the Goose.
Siena's streets are divided by each neighborhood, or contrada, in different sections around Piazza del Campo.

Aside from this, I knew I would be representing Americans more generally abroad too, and I was therefore more conscious of how I acted compared to Italians, and to other American tourists visiting the city.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Cultural Insights, Activities Abroad

Adventures Outside Florence: Biking to Val Gardena

Aug 16, 2018 1:30:00 PM / by Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An American History and Literature major at Harvard College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Hannah shares how studying abroad has given her a sense of freedom to explore—this time at Val Gardena outside the Tuscan region.

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Ciao ragazzi!

Following one of my previous posts, I’ve been excited to share a weekend trip I took to Northern Italy to mountain bike in Val Gardena. It turned out to be one of the exciting weekends I spent outside of Florence. It was exciting to experience a new region, one that is quite close to the Austrian border and has a completely different feel than being in the Tuscan region. In place of palazzi (palaces) made of pietra forte (a modest stone commonly used in Florence to build large 15th c. palaces and older churches) and loggias—the open areas underneath Romanesque arches in Florentine courtyards—wooden Chalets with overhanging roofs and second-level wrap-around decks, and small barns with paddocks outlined the mountain towns in Val Gardena. I stayed in Ortisei, a small ski town settled between two mountainsides about an hour-and-a-half bus ride from Bolzano (north of Trento and Venice).

Me Traversing Down a Path to OrtiseiA photo of me traversing across a narrow rock path on my bike as we make our way down to Ortisei.

The roads were narrow, and our bus was quite large. We had to wait on a few occasions for oncoming downhill traffic to pass before heading up the hillside from Bolzano. I sat quietly and watched, and listened. I heard German, Italian, and broken English every so often. Most of the passengers spoke German and dialects from southern Austria. The street signs had both the Italian and German translation of towns and locations.

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Posted in: Travel, Florence, Italy

10 Restaurants and Cafes to Add to Your Culinary Quest in Florence

Jul 11, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An American History and Literature major at Harvard College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Hannah recommends 10 restaurants and cafes in Florence she's enjoyed dining in and also dishes on the food and atmosphere at those establishments.

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As a new online blogger, I recently learned what a “Top 10-style blog” is. So, naturally, I’ve wanted to make one about my favorite Tuscan meals in Florence! My brother came to visit me for about a week and we tried out all of Valentina’s favorite restaurants. Valentina, a staff member at CAPA, walked us through the hotspots in the city on a map, and we embarked on a culinary quest. I also have this tendency of getting up early and camping out at cafes where I enjoy the atmosphere, to read or write or complete assignments, so I’ve listed a few of my favorite cafes here as well.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Summer2018_From Hannah Hardenbergh - Views of the DuomoThis city is full of good food and places to dine in!

1. La Loggia degli Albizi

I had the best cappuccino at this café for sure. In Europe, it is custom to only get a cappuccino or latte in the morning, as it is a heavier beverage than say, an espresso. So, a cappuccino is almost like a snack if you order it after breakfast (but don’t order it after 12pm!). It is common to order an espresso or macchiato after any meal, though.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Food Abroad

Adventures Outside Florence: Cinque Terre

Jul 5, 2018 1:30:00 PM / by Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An American History and Literature major at Harvard College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Hannah shares about the time she recently spent in Cinque Terre and what it's like to be spontaneous in new places.

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Ciao! As I sit on a train back to Florence from a day trip in Siena today, I can’t help but reflect on my adventures so far in Italy and consider the value of branching out, engaging in a new experience, and exposing oneself to new surroundings, both cultural and environmental. Being present and willing to stumble upon beauty (instead of searching for something in particular) has led me to many exciting moments during my trips in and out of Florence. I decided to try to do an activity in each place I went to; I hiked between the coastal towns of Cinque Terre, “The Five Lands,” I biked in the breathtaking mountainous terrain of the Dolomites in northern Italy, and, due to extremely good timing of my travels, I got to see a historical horse race in Siena today. While it may seem obvious that traveling exposes one to new experiences and excitement, I wanted to share my perspective on branching out.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Summer2018_From Hannah Hardenbergh - Corniglia from AboveCorniglia from above.

This post focuses on the value of having a non-plan and being present. While I get to share with you the beauty of the places I’ve visited, I also get to emphasize the value in engaging in my surroundings in social and physical ways. Having grown up in a family with a very active lifestyle, I love working out. It makes me feel happier and as a student-athlete, I really enjoy endurance training like long runs and bike rides, especially when there’s a destination. So, I knew that my love for sport and the outdoors could lead me towards new experiences in Italy as well.

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Posted in: Travel, Florence, Italy, Activities Abroad

What My Summer Art Classes Are Like in Florence

Jun 28, 2018 1:30:00 PM / by Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An American History and Literature major at Harvard College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Hannah shares about her art classes in Florence and the wonder of learning and seeing the city's artwork and architecture in the flesh.

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While it seems to me that I have been spending copious amounts of time pleasure reading, journaling, and traveling, I sometimes remind myself that I am also in Florence to…study! The classes I enrolled in—drawing and renaissance art history—started the week after I arrived, and I have class 3 days per week, per class. The learning environment is quite unique for each class, and I have enjoyed studying with the expat professors at CAPA, who decided the grass was greener across the pond, and who enthusiastically share their passion for Florentine culture and art with students each semester.

Looking up into the Duomo from below.

At first, I was surprised to hear that my teachers were not in fact of Italian descent, or grew up in the country. Their perspectives of the city are part of what makes the learning environment so unique. Our drawing professor prefers whimsical assignment changes that best fit the group’s interests, and our art history professor is a walking encyclopedia, who I’m sure would know when and where each Medici family member lived and breathed his or her last breath if you were to ask her. Both of my classes have been extraordinarily unique.

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Posted in: International Education, Florence, Italy

The Idea of Exploring a New City is Exciting

Jun 21, 2018 1:30:00 PM / by Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh

Hannah Hardenbergh is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An American History and Literature major at Harvard College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Hannah writes about her reasons for studying abroad in Florence, why she loves exploring this city, and how this experience will increase her love of art.

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Hello! Welcome to this summer’s study abroad adventure in Florence, Italy. I am excited to share with you all my time and the many things I will be doing! Here goes.

View of Florence from San Miniato al MonteA view of the city of Florence from San Miniato al Monte.

To start off, I decided to study abroad for a couple of reasons. First, I have not traveled that much on my own, and the idea of having my own space where I could explore a new city on my own was really exciting. I liked the sound of having a schedule for classes that was challenging but not overbearing, leaving room for personal time to draw, write, and travel on my own. Second, I wanted to continue exploring my excitement for the arts and culture, and what better place to do so than in the soul of centuries-old art and monumental history!

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Why Study Abroad

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