Ever since I was young, I have always been interested in traveling and seeing the world. I was particularly interested in going to Italy, because my family roots come from both Sicily and Northern Italy.
Once I found out that Keene State College offers a great study abroad program, I knew I would regret it if I didn’t
take the opportunity to study in Florence.
I thought about how great it would be to learn Italian in Italy and have conversations with my family when I am back in the States, especially with my great aunt who was a nun for forty years in Vatican City.
Along with my Italian language class, I am taking four other very interesting classes. I get to learn about the history of the
Italian mafia through a class called Organized Crime.
I will be able to cook marvelous Italian dishes by the end of my Food of Italy cooking class.
I am also learning the history of architecture and product design, which gives me more knowledge when I choose
to visit some of these creations while traveling through Europe. With only being here for three weeks, I have already been able to go on field trips to visit contemporary art museums and showcases in Florence.
My favorite part about being in Florence is witnessing the street art everywhere I walk. Any road I stroll down, the building walls are filled with creative expressions.
The graffiti adds to the experience of being in the city because the figures are commonly repeated throughout Florence, sometimes even telling a story.
As a graphic design major, I am taught to pay attention to small details around me. I truly believe this is the reason
I have noticed so many of these random drawings because I am always looking for them.
For example, there is a particular stick figure that I see everywhere. Sometimes it is randomly on walls, climbing ladders or holding onto a red balloon, but other times the painter uses objects that are already on the building such as windows or doorbells to objectify a story through the graffiti.
There are times that the art is more noticeable, such as when artists take famous historic paintings and draw them with chalk on the ground for people walking by to admire.
Other times, there are stickers on street signs that can be seen everywhere throughout the city. For example, a simple yield sign is decorated to resemble a shoe with laces intertwining either side of the sign. It is also shown through “do not enter” street signs.
This sign is not the same as it is in America; there are no words, it is just a red circle with a white line placed across the middle.
Stickers are repeated everywhere in Florence on this sign. Sometimes they are as simple as a stick figure skating on
the white line, but other times the sign is completely altered by having the stick figures under the white line, carrying the altered line that resembles an image of a king.
Whenever I see street signs like these, I always stop to take a picture. I already have a collection of pictures and I am excited to see what other signs I will run into.
When I am back in the States the one thing I will miss the most about being in Italy is the street performers. Everywhere I walk, I get the pleasure of being able to listen and watch people play instruments and sing traditional Italian songs that I grew up listening to with my family.
My favorite part about living in the heart of the city is being able to have my windows open in my apartment as I am getting ready for bed, just to listen to the street performers play music.
I have only been here for three weeks, but it feels as if I’ve been here for months. I know my time here will fly by.
However, in the meantime I will continue to celebrate how lucky I am to be able to study abroad.
I am fulfilling every experience in the greatest way possible with the amazing people I have met through this journey.
I want to thank my mom for making this beautiful dream come true, and I can’t wait to share this experience with her when she visits.
Andrea Cuzzupe can be contacted at email@example.com