Sharing My Moments From Venice

Sep 20, 2018 12:30:00 PM / by Payton Meyer

Payton Meyer

Payton Meyer is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Strategic Communication major at  University of Colorado Boulder, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Payton visits Venice with her CAPA friends and shares some moments from this experience.

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This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to do an overnight stay in Venice with a few friends that I’ve met here through CAPA. We attended CAPA’s My Global City advising event on Friday morning, to sign up for various volunteer activities such as English teaching or meeting with an Italian family once a week (the GANZO program), and then made our way over to the Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station around 2:30pm to catch a train into the city. The train was about 2 hours long, and had WiFi and phone chargers. About halfway through, we got an email from our Airbnb host to let us know that our place had been flooded earlier that morning, and that we were getting upgraded to stay in his bed and breakfast in Lido, just outside of Venice, instead! So, as soon as we got off the long train ride, we took a boat taxi for 30 minutes to Lido, and strolled around the less crowded, more spacious streets of the sand bar. We had a lovely seafood pasta dinner, walked around a bit, and headed back to the B&B for a little R&R before our big day in the heart of Venice.

Venetian CanalMade it to Venice!

The smell of toast and croissants woke us up the next morning, and we enjoyed breakfast in the quaint dining room of the B&B accompanied by a family of 3 from Spain that we practiced our Spanish with. After taking a nice walk along the Lido coastline and feeling the sand between our toes, we hopped back onto the boat taxi and headed into the city.

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Posted in: Travel, Florence, Italy, Personal Learning

Living Like a Local in Florence: Embracing Differences and Adjusting Accordingly

Sep 18, 2018 12:30:00 PM / by Connor McGlone

Connor McGlone

Connor McGlone is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Marketing and Supply Chain Management major at  University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Connor shares the differences he's observed between his Florence apartment and apartments he's had in the US, as well as what he's doing to adjust to living like a local.

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Living in a flat in Florence has been a completely new living experience for me. While there are many aspects of the living situation that are different, the setup of my apartment is standard compared to my apartment back home. It has 2 bedrooms, a common area, a bathroom, and a kitchen. It is slightly small but has all of the necessities a person needs.

My BedroomEach room has 2 people living in it. Each person gets their own desk and dresser as well!

There are several differences in appliances and utilities in Florence, or the lack thereof. The first is that there is no clothes dryer. We have a drying rack and lines outside our rooms to hang up our clothes for us to dry. I was slightly concerned before coming to Florence about how this would work or if it would ruin my clothes. However, after washing and drying my clothes for the first time I realized it is not as big of a deal as I thought.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Accommodation Abroad, Cultural Differences

How I Overcame Several Travel Hiccups On My Way to Florence

Sep 13, 2018 12:30:00 PM / by Payton Meyer

Payton Meyer

Payton Meyer is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Strategic Communication major at  University of Colorado Boulder, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Payton recalls the obstacles she faced on her way to Florence and shares how she overcame them and arrive for orientation.

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I’m finally starting to settle in to my new home here after arriving in Italy late Friday night. I’m writing this from the kitchen table in my quaint 3rd floor apartment that’s just 5 minutes from the train station, and about a 20-minute scenic walk to the CAPA Florence center. Florence is even more breathtaking than I imagined it would be, and I absolutely love my apartment and all 6 of my flatmates, but getting to this point wasn’t so easy.

Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral

I made a few little stops in both Iceland and London before arriving in Italy for the semester, resulting in me arriving very late at night, rather than during the day as CAPA had wanted us to do. The CAPA Florence staff was very understanding and helpful when I told them this, and planned to check me in the next morning, before our 10am orientation. I thought I would just take the 8:05am train from Rosano, where I stayed with my parents in a medieval countryside Airbnb, and arrive in Florence at 8:45am, at which point I would take a taxi over to CAPA and get my apartment keys so I could drop my luggage off and head back over for the CAPA orientation. My journey into Florence, however, did not go exactly as planned.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Arrival, Orientation

Orientation Day in Florence and Learning About the City

Sep 11, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Connor McGlone

Connor McGlone

Connor McGlone is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Marketing and Supply Chain Management major at  University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Connor sets off on his first day in Florence through a CAPA orientation and tour of the historic city.

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Arriving at the CAPA center on the day of my arrival in Florence was surreal. After the exhausting travel and long hours on the plane I was finally in Florence and ready to start my journey. The CAPA building looked beautiful and the CAPA staff greeted me with open arms; they made me feel right at home immediately.

Stepping Out in Florence

On orientation day I was able to find the CAPA Florence center from my apartment, which is a beautiful 10-minute walk passing countless markets, restaurants, and stores. The CAPA staff walked us through different tips for adjusting to living in a different country and being in a new environment. We discussed stereotypes American students get while in Italy, and how to avoid being a part of the negative ones. We want to be respectful to both the Italian people and culture while we are staying here.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Orientation

Packing Smart for a Semester in Florence

Sep 6, 2018 1:30:00 PM / by Payton Meyer

Payton Meyer

Payton Meyer is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Strategic Communication major at  University of Colorado Boulder, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Payton shares some packing strategies and outfits that she'll be bringing for her semester abroad in Florence.

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I’m writing this the night before I depart for Florence, as I pack away the last few things I’ll need for the next 4 months using the CAPA packing list. I’ve never moved outside of my hometown, or even been to Europe, so needless to say, I’m freaking out a little. It’s been tough to figure out what to take with me and what to leave at home because, unfortunately, I can’t fit my whole life into my suitcase. Here are a few of the things that I’ve been focusing on to help me narrow down what I’m bringing along this semester.

Airport in Iceland

One of the reasons I am most excited to study abroad is to experience European fashion, as Italy is home to some of the fashion capitals of the world. I have always been passionate about fashion, but, living in Boulder, Colorado, a city that has been deemed one of the worst dressed cities in the entire United States (I’m not kidding!), makes me wonder how much I’ve truly been exposed to it. That being said, I absolutely love fashion as a form of self-expression, and can’t wait to see what people are wearing in Europe. I think it will be the perfect place to try out some pieces that I might be hesitant to wear in Boulder but will be so fun to break out abroad. I’m also saving a little room for anything new that might catch my eye in a boutique while I’m there.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Study Abroad, Predeparture & Study Abroad Preparations

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, Reflection

Preparing for a Semester Abroad in Florence

Sep 4, 2018 3:00:00 PM / by Connor McGlone

Connor McGlone

Connor McGlone is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Marketing and Supply Chain Management major at  University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Connor shares some pre-departure thoughts and how he prepared for his semester abroad in Florence.

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I am officially less than a week from arriving in Florence, Italy! The reality is finally starting to set in that I am going to be living in Italy for an entire three months. I am certainly nervous to find my way around, deal with the language barrier, and have to cope with missing all of my close friends and family, but I know there is so much more to be excited about. This will be my first time ever being in Europe and I plan on making the most of it. I cannot wait to experience the culture there, to try new foods, and to see all of the historic sites throughout Italy. Even though I am only taking four classes while I am there, I have a feeling I will learn more this semester than I have learned any semester in college.

Connor holding passport

I have done so much to prepare for this semester and I would like to share some of those things with you now. The first thing I did when I was preparing was reach out to fellow students who also studied in Florence. This was incredibly helpful to me as these students were able to give me a variety of different tips for places to visit, restaurants to go to, and even what classes to take. I let them talk for hours (they all loved reminiscing on their time in Florence so it was not hard for them to talk for hours) while I just listened and took notes. By the end of it I had pages of different tips that they gave me! Now I feel so much more comfortable going to and living in a different country and it just got me more excited for my trip after hearing them talk.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Study Abroad, Predeparture & Study Abroad Preparations

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

How Studying Abroad in Florence Left Its Mark on Me

Aug 21, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Allyson Barnes

Allyson Barnes

Allyson Barnes is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Anthropology, Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, and Studio Arts major at University of Colorado - Boulder, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In her last post, Allyson reflects on her study abroad experience in Florence through all the changes and growth, as well as how the city has left its mark on her overall outlook and desire to work with people.

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Stepping off that plane after an agonizingly long flight home was bittersweet. My adventure was over. But I was welcomed with open arms, literally, from my entire family. I was able to sleep in my own bed, be with my dogs, and have American food again. Yet I found myself constantly thinking about what I missed in Italy. It had become a part of me, and me a part of it. I was able to find myself in that city, and I found a place. I knew the streets like the back of my hand by the end of my adventure. I knew public transportation like never before. I understood what adaptation by necessity truly meant, and how utterly difficult, yet so worth it, it was. I was still the same Ally in many ways, and yet in others I was new.

A Group Photo with My Friends in FlorenceA group photo with friends from Florence! 

Being home I have certainly noticed some changes in me, luckily all for the best. I am so much more open about everything and so hungry to learn about anything I can. I want something to constantly surprise me so that I am challenged to learn more and think deeper about everything from varying points of view. I wouldn’t have done any of that or felt this way if I hadn’t decided to study abroad. It changed me, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

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Posted in: Florence, Italy, Personal Learning, Reflection

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