Feeling Florentine by: Martin Allison

Hey College of Charleston Study Abroad!  My name is Martin Allison, and I’m a Junior double majoring in Communication and Studio Art.  Being originally from Charleston I had never felt as though I “went away” for college, but studying abroad has definitely allowed me to experience that for the first time.  Major props to all the students that travel to attend CofC, missing home is tough!  Right now I’m with the Communications Faculty-Led program in Florence, Italy, and am enjoying having that extra bit of comfort knowing I am with fellow students and professors from home.  I chose this program because first, Florence is one of my mother’s favorite cities in Europe, and second, I felt as though I could still cater to the studio art side of my studies on my own in such an art-rich place.  As I said above I also knew I wanted to do faculty-led so that I had people from home alongside me through the semester. 

This fall I hope to discover not only things (obviously) about Italy and its culture, but further about myself and my place in the world.  In regards to discovering Italy physically, I hope to find little corners–of Florence in particular–that are off the beaten path where I can build relationships with and embrace other people.  I am excited to experience the vibrance and richness of Italian culture, as well as see how it compares and contrasts to the culture I grew up around in Charleston, SC USA. Personally I further hope to discover more of a passion for adventure and a spirit of spontaneity in myself.  As far as research about Florence, I did not do much prior to arrival.  Of course I looked up survival information (both physical and social), from table manners to basic Italian, but in regards to the city I wanted to have no expectations.  Everyone experiences travel differently, so I tried to prevent allowing someone else’s experience to set the tone for my own. 

I know I am a bit late on this introduction, but I admit the whirlwind that is studying abroad has kept me busy and learning–as it should be! 

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