Words by Erin Largey, a student at The College of New Jersey who studied abroad in Florence with CAPA International Education during Fall semester 2014.
- - -
There are a variety of reasons why a person decides to go abroad. Some people go for the adventure and experience of trying something new. Some have no choice and are forced to go for their respective majors. Some go to find themselves and to become a more mature, independent and cultured individual.
Of course, I hopped right on the bandwagon as soon as I attended my first study abroad information session. Hearing other student’s stories and seeing pictures, I knew this is something that I needed to do.
One of my reasons to go abroad was for the adventure and experience of living in a new country away from my mom and dad. However, my main reason to go abroad was to experience the world around me and indulge in learning about new cultures. I wanted to open my eyes beyond my New Jersey bubble.
I can thankfully say that I experienced Florence to its fullest potential because of CAPA's My Global City events. Every single event that I attended was a fulfilling experience that allowed me to experience a new aspect of the Italian culture.
Here are my top 3 favorite My Global City events:
1. DRAGON BOAT ON THE ARNO RIVER. The Dragon Boat on the Arno River was one of my absolute favorite events because who can say that they went on a boat ride in the Arno River and under the Ponte Vecchio? Società Canottieri Firenze is the local prestigious rowing club and is one hobby that some Florentines have (aside from futbol).
Photo: Behind the scenes
Three members from the club took a group of students on the ride. This allowed my fellow students and I to connect with local Florentines, while learning how to properly row. We also discussed their passion for rowing and some of the dos and don’ts of Florence. For example, they told us that the best gelato in Florence is Gelateria la Carraia. (They were right!) I would never have experienced this event if it were not for the My Global City activities because this club is very prestigious and not everyone is welcomed into the club.
Photo: The group in the dragon boat with one of the club members
2. FIORENTINA FUTBOL GAME VERSUS SASSUOLO. The Fiorentine Futbol Game is another one of the highlights of my time in Florence. I was planning on going to one of the games myself, but this My Global City event allowed all of the CAPA students to go together and experience the hype of a European soccer match.
Photo: Just a few of us that were supporting Fiorentina!
Stefano, one of CAPA staff members, brought along two of his friends, which allowed us students again to talk with local Florentines. Stefano also printed a piece of paper for each student with all of the chants and songs that we would hear throughout the game. This piece of paper came in handy because it allowed us to chant along with the die-hard fans.
Photo: Forza Viola!
Going to a soccer game on our own time would have still been fun, but the futbol game scheduled in the My Global City events calendar really allowed us to have the true Florentine experience.
3. ETHNIC WALK AROUND FLORENCE AND LECTURE. My third favorite event, the ethnic walk, was one that I had to go on for my Global City class (this is a course where we get to participate in the My Global City activities), but in my opinion this event was the most rewarding because it really opened all of our eyes to the minorities and immigrants in Florence.
Photo: The Synagogue
The walk took us to the Islamic Center and the Synagogue, and ended with lunch at an Arabic Restaurant. The Islamic center and the restaurant were directly next door to my apartment. I never went into these places on my own, even though I waked past both each day. The tour first brought us into the Islamic center and we got to learn about Islamic religion while receiving a tour of the center. We then got to sample some Arabic cuisine while we learned how to cook some of the food that we tasted. Finally, we took a tour of the only Synagogue in the city center of Florence. We learned about the history of the Synagogue and about the Jewish community in Florence - another aspect of Florence that not many people really know about. I was also happy that I went because I would have never gone to these three places on my own time.