London & Florence: Arts in Context testimonials
When I chose to do the London & Florence program, I thought the opportunity to live in two countries and experience two different cultures would be fun. Little did I know how much I would grow as a person after living and experiencing these two diverse cities. From admiring art in the churches of Florence to attending theatre shows in London, my appreciation grew greatly for the Fine Arts. However, nothing can describe the fast-paced, mad rush of the Tube in London or the beautiful winding streets of Italy until you experience them for yourself. This experience has stretched me to learn about the world as well as myself in more ways than I can begin to describe.
—Lauren Ahern, London & Florence, Spring 2012
While I've discovered plenty about myself, my academic interests, and the world on my home campus, Florence taught me something that I think I had to leave the academic pressure cooker in order to learn: the good life. The classes on the off-campus program were interesting and engaging, of course, but so many of the most valuable experiences I took away from my experience happened outside the classroom: chucking the tourist guidebook in favor of street art south of the Arno; hopping on a train for a spontaneous day trip and finding the best gelateria (hint: it's in Prato); three-hour dinners, senza guilt. To my deeply-ingrained, American sensibility of "hurry up and overachieve," it was challenging, disorienting, strangely and wonderfully aimless. I didn't realize how deeply my sense of what I "have" to do with my life would be challenged, and how eternally grateful I am for that.
—Mariko Conner, London & Florence, Spring 2010
The ACM London & Florence program was beyond life changing. Coming from a rural life in Wisconsin, I had never lived in a large city before. I went from a town of 7,000 to a city of 8.7 million. Besides studying theatre, art, architecture, culture, and even some Italian, I learned how to take care of myself and navigate the streets of Florence and the Underground in London. In the matter of a few weeks, a quiet country boy like myself was a world class traveler! I even planned a spur of the moment trip to Munich, Germany! I cannot recommend this program enough, and not to sound cliché, but it is truly an eye opening journey.
—John Ingemann, London & Florence, Spring 2011
There are so many magnificent things to encounter on the London & Florence program. If asked to sum up my experience abroad in one sentence, I might hem and haw a bit trying to decide whether to talk about flipping coins into the fountain in Rome or socializing with the scruffy pony in a field on the side of the road in Stratford, the historic awe that is Florence's church of San Miniato or the puzzle piece wonder of London. I think I would finally say, however, that the most defining moments of going abroad were the moments I have been able to bring home with me. As the Italians say, "Ho capito que… non capisco, ma e’ va bene." ("I understood that I don’t understand, but that it is OK.") Since I have gotten home, I have come to realize that along with the plethora of academic knowledge imparted to us, the London & Florence program gave me the opportunity and security I needed to be truly alone with myself and to learn how to trust myself again. I re-discovered the wonder of my life and found new curiosity in the world.
—Sarah Brown, London & Florence, Spring 2008
My journey abroad with ACM Florence and London in the Spring of 2011 was one of the most amazing four months of my life. Never have I met more enduring and phenomenal people like my professors and host family that were all so caring and open. I visited places that most only see in books, from Rome and Venice to Big Ben and Stratford upon Avon. Going abroad changed my life and made me appreciate not only my own family, but many cultures around the world. It has continued to fuel my desire to travel and to be a part of cultures and situations outside my comfort zone that help me to grown as an individual.
—Stephanie Rhyner, London & Florence, Spring 2011
Studying abroad with the London & Florence Program has completely given me a new perspective on my life. Whether I was eating gelato while strolling under the Duomo, pushing my way on a crowded regional train to Naples, enjoying birthday pizza on the Grand Canal of Venice, crossing Abbey Road, or making a phone call from a London telephone booth, I was experiencing life like I had never done in the past. The memories and experiences I had with my ACM friends are irreplaceable and I began to realize the scope and scale, not only of the world, but also of the opportunities available for me. My time abroad was completely bittersweet and will be five months that will always impact my future, and which I will never forget.
—Holly Doyle, London & Florence, Spring 2010
I chose the London & Florence program because I wanted to visit Italy as an Italian, for the rich culture, to study the language and history, and the vivacious cities. And London, what a thrill! Living in the incredible city was terrific. Learning its history and walking throughout London was surreal. I also enjoy theatre, so the opportunity to view over twenty productions was an amazing experience. As a result of choosing to study in Europe, I was able to travel to seven countries (Italy, Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, Germany, France, and Switzerland) in seven months. It was an incredible opportunity, richly engaging, and not to be forgotten.
—Arielle Denis, London & Florence, Spring 2008
Living abroad on the London & Florence program opened my eyes to life beyond school and drew me into educational projects outside (as well as within) my major. Studying off-campus introduced new aspects of the future and new perspectives of quality living. Discussing cultural differences with my host family at the dinner table brought me to realize what I appreciate about my country but it also made me consider different cultural viewpoints and adapt my mind. It made me stronger in some convictions and diverse in others while helping me plant roots in two major cities of the world.
—Caroline Castro, London & Florence, Spring 2009
I chose the London & Florence program because it offered the unique opportunity of exploring two places and cultures in-depth and living two very different lifestyles over the course of a single semester. My time in London taught me to appreciate the inexhaustible excitement of England's capital – from navigating the Tube and exploring a myriad of museums and art galleries to examining how history, politics, architecture, and art have shaped the city's cultural identity. Sharing a London flat with fellow students and making my own meals provided an invigorating detachment from campus life and taught me the thrill of true independence. In the beautiful city of Florence, I was able to witness firsthand the artistic and historical legacy of the Italian Renaissance while wandering the cobblestone streets and taking trips to Siena, Rome, and Venice. I learned the intricacies of the Italian language from gelato vendors, fruit stands at the central market, and intimate conversations with my host family over homemade pasta and tiramisu. In a way that I could not have expected, these two experiences provided me with a deeper understanding of myself, the people and places around me, the value of the arts and engaged educational experiences, and the indescribable adventure of traveling, studying, and living abroad.
—Laura Linder-Scholer, London & Florence, Spring 2010
My experience in London and Florence soared beyond my expectations! I met so many amazing students from all over the U.S. Together we attended class throughout the cities, experiencing the arts in the everyday context of parks, museums, houses, palaces, monuments and theaters. We rarely studied in a classroom and had so many opportunities to travel to other cities and countries. This program is accessible to anyone with an interest in arts or humanities, regardless of the concentration. My semester of seeing the history and culture of London and Florence through an artistic lens will be one I will remember forever.
—Kayla Prestel, London & Florence, Spring 2011
My experience in the overseas program in London and Florence was one I will never forget. It was not only a great cultural and educational experience, but a chance to make lifelong friends. All these years later, I am still in contact with people I met during the program. Our group visited St. Peter’s Square at Vatican City on May 13, 1981 and was steps away from Pope John Paul II when he was shot. His attempted assassination was not an event we would have chosen to witness firsthand, but nonetheless was truly a moment in history. My participation in the ACM program is something I value deeply, and would recommend to any student who is interested in broadening their horizons during an unforgettable adventure.
—Kevin Sheridan, London & Florence, Spring 1981
Participating in the London & Florence program opened my eyes to a new side of the arts I had never known before. Just as important as the academic portion, the connections I made with other students, the professors, and especially my homestay mom are ones I will remember for the rest of my life. From my professors’ expert knowledge in their fields to my homestay mom’s cultural insights into Italian society, the program gave me an unforgettable experience. Although I had been a tourist in both locations previously, this program provided me with the opportunity to experience education, culture, and daily life.
—Hannah Ilika, London & Florence, Spring 2011
I did the London & Florence program because I wanted to be in a different atmosphere than my college alone could provide for me, to experience new things and leave my comfort zone. I was able to do this both in London and Italy - in Italy with the language difference, and London with the unique and busy atmosphere that was extremely different from my college campus. I learned a lot about the cultures the program surrounded me with, and also about myself. I'll always be grateful for the experience, and I know I'll keep all of the adventures and stories this trip gave me for the rest of my life.
—Michelle Hujer, London & Florence, Spring 2010
It wasn’t reading Dante on the steps of Santa Croce in Florence, feeding the pigeons in Piazza San Marco, or learning to make pasta carbonara from my Italian host family (who I'm still in touch with!). It wasn’t seeing London from one of those famous double-decker buses, climbing on the bronze lions in Trafalgar Square, or touring the Globe Theatre before going to their new production of Romeo and Juliet. But, somehow, all of these experiences, when combined with countless others on the London & Florence program, opened my eyes to new possibilities and added an international perspective to my studies and my life. Before going on this program, I had barely traveled outside the Midwest; now I have visited more than a dozen countries and have a career in international education, so I can help other college students have meaningful study abroad experiences, like the one I had with ACM.
—Meghan Beltmann, London & Florence, Spring 2004
Between running to catch the tube, having a pint at a local pub, seeing a premier league soccer game, meeting my long-lost family, to spending spring break on a Spanish beach, discovering what stores had the best gelato, climbing The Duomo, running through gardens with my ACM family (the other members in my group), and learning the Italian language along with millions of other memories, I found myself. I know it sounds cliché, but I have a new sense of confidence, trust in myself, and respect for other cultures. The London & Florence program gave me a way to open my eyes to everything that I can do and see. I'm in love with both of these countries and cultures, as well as the memories that will live forever. I can't wait until I am able to go back!
—Sara Wimmer, London & Florence, Spring 2011
I can truly say that my semester abroad on the London & Florence program was the most eye-opening, mind-expanding experience of my life to this point. At no point in my college career have I acquired knowledge more applicable and pertinent to my life. The wisdom gained goes so far beyond the coursework, as well. Whether you are hanging out at Speaker's Corner at Hyde Park in London or people watching in a busy piazza in Florence, you are sure to gain a whole new perspective on the world. All I can say is, go abroad, soak it up while you can, and take as much home with you as possible when you leave!
—Lee Homan, London & Florence, Spring 2008