Lisa: 2 week Standard Course
Lisa, decided against a Gap Year before University. She still wanted to work on her Italian though and chose to spend 2 weeks in Florence over the summer holiday. She was going to read Medicine, but had done GCSE Italian and wanted to build on this and view the artworks of Italy, before she was completely caught up in her new Uni world!
“I didn’t really know what to expect from a language course abroad, I thought the classroom set up might be similar to the one back home. I was quite surprised to find out that it was a lot different. The classes were smaller, a group of 10 students. This was a big advantage and a lot different to the group size I was used to at school. The lessons were held entirely in Italian too, at first this was a bit daunting but I soon found that I was picking things up and understanding a lot more than I had realised. It is definitely the best way to learn a language. The teachers were also very friendly and always willing to offer assistance when you needed it.
I really liked the school it was in a great location overlooking the city centre and from the classrooms there are great views of the river Arno. Students came from everywhere. I’d been told to expect this by CESA, but I hadn’t really taken it in. I loved the mix of nationalities.
Florence is a fantastic city, there are plenty of things to do or see. Florence is so full of art that it is really difficult to see it all. I had art overload and ended up not seeing as much as I had hoped. I loved Michaelangelo’s David. He’s beautiful! 14 feet tall made from a single slab of marble and absolutely perfect in every detail. I also loved the Bargello Museum where there were more statues from various important Italian artists – including different versions of David. Florence’s Duomo and the neighboring Baptistry, one of Florence’s oldest buildings, were also visited. The Baptistry has famous gilded brass doors. One set was commissioned in 1401 and dubbed the ‘Gates of Paradise’ to mark Florence’s deliverance from the plague. The other: The Gates of Hell.
I spent 3 hours at a time in the Uffizi Museum. Even if you don’t do anything else cultural in Florence you MUST, MUST, MUST go to the Uffizi!! I made reservations ahead the first time I went and was glad I did. There was a huge line, which did not appear to be moving at all, for the people without reservations. The Uffizi contains loads of famous Italian paintings, you name the artisit, they’re there. I adored the Botticelli works. It was almost too much though. Impossible to take in, in one go.
Ponto Vecchio is interesting because it is a bridge that is lined on both sides with jewellery stores. It has been a jewellers bridge since mediaeval times and therefore has lots of character and feels very old. At night, when the stores are closed, the windows are covered in very old thick wooden shutters. Midway along the bridge, at a statue of Cellini, young couples come to declare their love. They do this by putting a padlock on the railing and throwing the key into the river. Depending on your viewpoint this is either really cute or too bizarre for words!
My accommodation in the shared apartment was great. I was sharing with Italian people, which gave my language skills a boost. The apartment was simple, but had everything I needed. I was lucky mine was only a 10 minute walk to the college, some students were further out.
I have some fantastic memories of my time in Florence and have made some great friends from all over the world. I would definately recommend other students to go and would love to return myself, plans and budget permitting!
Thanks CESA for making this possible for me!?”