From the very beginning, I had a goal to travel and study abroad during my time at RIT. My freshman year, I sat down with my advisors and the study abroad office and picked out which semester would be the best to go abroad, what classes I should take there, and had almost everything but the specific school picked.
Then I switched my major. Switching from Civil Engineering Technology to New Media Design completely changed my academic schedule, and the semester I planned on studying abroad no longer seemed to fit as well.
I started looking into shorter trips over the summer or winter break. RIT offers a variety of ways to study and learn abroad, outside of the typical semester abroad. I was excited to hear from a friend about an opportunity to go to Italy through an art history class this past spring semester.
My major requires a certain number of art history credits, and I was already looking for a class to fill this requirement. I messaged the professor leading the trip, filled out the application, and interviewed for it as soon as I could. This art history class was designed to meet once a week (on Mondays) and then spend 10 days in Italy on location during RIT's spring break. To be considered for enrollment into the class, we had to submit paperwork to RIT Global, and also make sure we would be able to afford the trip. I signed up for the class with my friend and co-worker, Helen. We had roughly a 50/50 chance at getting a spot of the trip – our class limit was 10 people.
We both got in! This semester, our class focused on preparing us for what we would see in Italy. I must say, I really appreciated seeing the art in person more after learning about the history behind the different pieces. Another portion of our class grade was based on group presentations in Italy. We each picked a piece of art or architectural element we would see in Italy and researched before the trip so we could present to the class in front of the real thing. I researched the bronze doors of the Baptistery in Florence.
I had such an amazing time; I still almost can't believe everything we were able to see! We spent the first few days in Florence, and were able to explore the museums and churches there. The second night we were there we were taught the technique of fresco painting by one of the three fresco masters in all of Florence. Helen and I also climbed El Duomo, the famous Dome that breaks through the Florentine skyline. We spent the next several days in Ferrara, a smaller, more laid-back city. I was really impressed by the castle just two blocks from our hotel. From Ferrera, we took a day-trip to Venice. This was one of my favorite day-trips. The following day, we took another day-trip out to Ravenna. Ravenna was a nice change. We spent the remaining time in Florence before heading back to Rochester. In addition to seeing all the history and the art in these cities, we got to try authentic Italian food, gelato, and even make our own pasta!
I 100% recommend going abroad with RIT Global. It was nice to have someone help plan out your itinerary, buy tickets, take of transportation, meals, and housing. I really had to do very little on my part to get ready for the trip. I filled out all necessary paperwork, made sure I had some Euros, my passport, and then boarded the plane.
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