BLENDING Newsletter n.36


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blending newsletter 3 6 studentservicesjune j u ly 2 0 1 1 2s umm er is sue photo by shelley lamantia and david weiss breaking news italian and french riviera book production is under way by simone bodmer-turner on june 6th twenty one students from illinois and wisconsin colleges gathered in florence to begin their 6 week study of the italian-french riviera though cultural immersion and rigorous study the students along with palazzi advisers and teachers are based in versilia in the northern tuscan seaside area of the italian riviera and the provence area of the french riviera for three weeks while traveling they will enrich themselves in the local cuisine art architecture history and tradition while attending classes in digital photography and cultural perspectives after three weeks of traveling throughout the italian-french riviera they will return to florence and take classes in professional book production illustration photography and design to combine their findings experiences and gained knowledge into what will ultimately become the ingorda published tour book on the french-italian riviera written edited and published by palazzi students and staff follow our students as they update us on their travels at http category_name=italian-french-riviera-2011


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newsletter36 student services june jul y2011 2 everyone should receive it for the same cost which does not always under private ownership nuclear energy in italy was abolished by a referendum in 1987 after chernobyl happened in 1986 but recently as a way to revive the economy berlusconi italians prime minister re-introduced nuclear energy those who voted in the referendum said that they had already voted no and had never decided that it was ok again especially right after the crisis in japan and wanted italy to take no part in nuclear energy finally voters refuted the loosening of requirements for the necessity of politician s presence in court during their trial and a return to the more strict rules opposers of berlusconi made a strong point that they believed the loopholes in the attendance policy for politicians in court was working in his favor since he has had many court trials that he has not been present for the best news is that with 57 of the population voting this historical moment is the revival of social and political participation and pride for italians at home and abroad at closing time on 13 june 2011 turnout was 56.9 with clear majorities of 94.6 to 96.1 in favor on all questions astonishing voter turn out in italy s referendum 2011 by simone bodmer-turner on sunday june 12th until monday june 13th polls opened in local schools across italy for its citizens to vote on the 2011 referendum a referendum of its type abrogative had not been passed since 1995 and any referendum had not passed here since 2006 because of lack of participation on the voter s part the votes will not be counted unless 50 1 of the citizens who have the right to vote go to the poll and vote and if more than half the population votes then they will look at their votes more than 57 of the population voted and about 95 of them all voted to abolish the laws that had recently been set in place by the government and go back to the older more traditional laws the issues were privatization of water use of nuclear energy and the necessity of politician s presence in court water once a public commodity but now about half and half owned by private owners and the nation was voted to be only publically owned because italians believe that water is not a good it is a basic human need and therefore events events coming up this month by blending staff the student life and development office is happy to present some exciting activities during summer session iii experience florence and it s beautiful surrounding areas plus many of the activities are free thursday june 30th culinary treat pasta workshop free there s no question that fresh pasta tastes better now is your chance to learn how to properly combine flour eggs and water your friends and family back home will be so impressed by your italian culinary skills and most importantly you ll have a fun night with new friends and eat your tasty creations saturday july 2nd discover italy certosa monastary settemerla farm only 15 professor martina ghiandelli will guide you to the wonderful 13th century monastery located on a hilltop just outside of florence s city center followed by a visit to an organic farm where you will have lunch typical tuscan products saturday july 9th discover italy pisa only 15 join us for the day to see up-close and personal florence s historical rival there s more to this popular italian city than the leaning tower lunch included and free time to explore on your own monday nights soccer free july 4th 11th you re in the land of the world champions take part in the national pastime soccer stay in shape have some fun playing on a real size field fabrizio polloni wants you remember sign-up is mandatory for all activities please send an email to provide your full name email address and cell phone number see the student services activity calendar for more details.


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3 studentservices june-jul 2011 newsletter 36 y past events i cento sguardi one hundred ways of looking at corleone italy by simone bodmer-turner the backdrop for francis coppola s famous movie the godfather corleone has a horrible reputation around the world for its very real and violent history of mafiosi the italian state has been fighting the mafia for hundreds of years and trying to catch and imprison those who use violent methods thanks to a law named after an italian politician who was killed brutally for proposing it when mafiosi are imprisoned their property now becomes state property buildings homes and land the problem was that no one would want to come to work on the sites to rebuild them into something useful for the town and no one would come to till the land to turn it into farmland because they were scared that they would be killed for actively opposing the mafia several years ago a group of incredibly courageous and fearless farmers banded together to till the land and stand up to the mafia they continued their labor despite intimidation from the mafia in the form of crucifixion of the farmers animals slashing their tractor wheels and pouring vast amounts of horse manure onto the fields so that they were unable to be tilled an association in tuscany called arci decided to help when they learned of the farmer s perseverance and determination to change the corleone they lived in and its reputation and started sending students to help the farmers till and plant the land in the summertime three years ago margherita abbozzo a history of photography teacher at fua had her daughter go to corleone where she fell in love with the work she did there and the people of the small town after her daughter urged her to get involved she decided to give the cooperative what she knew how to do best as an artist and an educator partnering with alessandra capodacqua margherita organized a project to bring back pride to the locals by giving disposable cameras to the school children in corleone s elementary middle and high school giving them an opportunity to show their corleone to the world a corleone that had never been seen before except by those who live in it and love it all of the professors and deans of the schools were enthusiastic about the project but no one was as excited as the kids and that is really what kept us going margherita said of the way the corleone people embraced the project she proposed they were like flowers waiting for water to be given the chance to say they were proud of their town she said they had just been under the shadow of corleone s reputation for so long that they didn t know how to find a way and i like to think that we gave them a way the children of corleone spent four days photographing their daily lives in corleone each taking 39 pictures totaling about 4000 photographs one hundred were selected by margherita and alessandra to be shown in an exhibit in corleone the gallery opening on may 25th was expected to draw 50-70 people and over 500 showed up from corleone and from neighboring town s schools whose children were eager to see the work of their peers it was really amazing to see how the town banded together to support its youngsters whose views of the world where they live and themselves are still so malleable this project really made the people young and old of corleone take pride in their hometown said margherita thanks to their sponsors unicoop tirreno mediateca to scana fondazione antonino caponnetto coordinamento antimafia di firenze margherita and alessandra were able to publish an 112 page catalogue of the students photos and a dvd about the project the exhibition will be traveling around tuscany and italy sometime in the fall look for i cento sguardi in florence to see the amazing and moving photographs from the inspirational youngsters of corleone.


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newsletter36 student services june jul y2011 4 so researching the places close to me became my priority said christiana it became a new way for her to use photography and fully understand the landscape and how we use it daily the photographs displayed were taken from a series she did enroute to an island in slovakia of a desecrated jewish cemetery the balance between the beauty and the sadness of the images makes the photographs incredibly powerful the theme of identity stems from her christiana caro in her studio by simone bodmer-turner captivation with islands with locally curated museums in slovakia christiana explained many images of slovakia are politically motivated and i wanted to show images that were natural to the culture and not influenced by politics the locals themselves curated the exhibits and the pieces within them the museums are fascinating because they show how a group of isolated individuals view themselves the summer issue collaborated on by michelle thomson rebecca monaco and simone bodmer-turner prior to f_air s show the summer issue which opened june 14 f_air s artist in residence christiana caro and artist valerio ricci hosted an artist talk small talks voices of experience both artists have participated in artist in residency programs and discussed their experiences in relation to their current work caro shared the inspiration for her work after her residency in martha s vineyard and also described her time researching and photographing in slovakia while ricci s experience included residencies in new york city and seoul in a residency program the artists are able to be completely immersed in their projects without having distractions from their typical daily life both artists agree that experiencing a residency program in another culture is an important aspect to their artwork both credit the immersion with new landscapes as inspiration to creating original work fumitaka kudo s installation piece by simone bodmer-turner on june 14th f_air s modern white gallery walls hosted a collection of art from five artists three italian a japanese and christiana caro f_air s summer artist in residence from washington d.c the gallery featured a diptych of christiana of a jewish cemetery in slovakia as well as two drawings of butterflies seemingly entrapped in a dark tunnel by stefania balestri two gold containers linked together by a delicate gold chain by valerio ricci a series of black mirrors and a video by raffaele di vaia and an installation piece by fumitaka kudo of canvases hanging sheet-like from the ceiling portraying a world impacted by nuclear disaster christiana caro was born in washington d.c where she was later introduced to the local museums and developed a taste for fine art she has done residencies in martha s vinyard massachusetts and slovakia she was invited to several residencies this summer in finland iceland and spain but ultimately decided to come to florence because she preferred the length of the program she will be gracing us with her artistic presence until august 6th and the teaching opportunity that f_air gives its artists in residence she plans to continue her residencies and may be headed to baer s air in iceland next summer christiana says she is inspired by 1960 s and 70 s conceptual art including the earthworks movement which is about using the landscape as a medium we all come out of landscape christiana caro s photographs of the slovakian jewish cemetery by simone bodmer-turner lucia giardino the academic coordinator of f_air was very pleased with how the disparity between the works of different artists from different backgrounds pulled together into a cohesive exhibit that was beautifully powerful in it s simplicity lucia explained that when they put the show together they did not know how important fumitaka s work would be after the recent voting finished to abolish nuclear energy the image of a world after a nuclear disaster has become much more relevant and important image lucia f_air and florentines look forward to christiana s solo show in july that will exhibit the work she has done during her residency in florence since she arrived in may the summer issue closes on july 12th and is open on monday to thursday 3:00pm 8:00pm until then future artist talks and exhibitions are tba but will also take place at f_air via san gallo 45/r.


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5 studentservices june-jul 2011 newsletter 36 y field trips an untraditional trip to rome by jessica monaco when people think of italy one of the first places to pop into their minds is rome rome is the capital of italy rome has the coliseum rome has the vatican rome is the center of everything on june 11th and 12th fua hosted a trip to rome a four-hour bus ride transported more than seventy students from several schools to the capital city in the early hours of the morning a tour of the vatican began immediately the vatican is a whole other country from italy when in the vatican all knees and shoulders must be covered any girls with skirts too short or thin-strapped shirts had to cover up and hopefully the guys were wearing long pants the vatican is a beautiful place it is a museum of ancient glories a whole corridor is decoted to two-story tall tapestries another to giant maps of old italy and countless rooms and halls filled with statues the artifacts found here include roman delicacies christian based beauties and pagan deities there are busts of famous men and statues of mythological characters on every surface every which way you turn even bathtubs the size of cars and sarcophagi of famous political figures can be seen on display and of course the sistine chapel and saint peter s basilica both are gorgeous monuments of the times though crowded taking a walk through the chapel and looking at the pictorial accounts of biblical stories on every facet of the building is breathtaking the basilica has no paintings but contains amazing mosaics and tombs that take your breath away if you re lucky you ll see the changing of the swiss guard while you re there it just so happened that rome europride held an international gay parade and concert on the same saturday that the fua trip was in rome the parade showcased dozens lgbt groups on brightly colored floats the streets were covered in glitter confetti stickers and flyers being thrown out by each float the energy surrounding the parade was contagious that night lady gaga appeared and performed a few numbers and gave a speech in the ancient circus maximus the following day gave way to more tours the famous coliseum was the first stop inside visitors can see the remains of one of the most important arenas ever built part of the coliseum has been rebuilt on the inside to showcase what the original stairs seats and fighting arena would have looked like before the building began to crumble a cross stands where the emperor may have sat while watching the games the tour guide made sure to explain that while wind animals criminals and gladiators fought and died in the coliseum the christians were not killed there they were persecuted in the circus maximus and other places like it after the coliseum came the roman forum a forum was the political religious and cultural center of any city the groups of students got to see the impressive victory arches of two separate emperors along with the resting place of julius caesar the roman forum is a large expanse of land where several basilicas and older forums once were built as well the afternoon was taken up by a walk around the spanish steps and the trevi fountain both are hot tourists sports the spanish steps are surrounded by big name stores and impressive restaurants the trevi fountain may be the most crowded place in all of rome as every man and woman takes their turn tossing coins with hopes of luck and love rome is a famous city it has gained its reputation as the apex of ancient italian life and deserves all the praise photo by rebecca monaco photo by rebecca monaco


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newsletter36 student services june jul y2011 6 foodies apicius holds a biscotti workshop for summer students by nicole ryder when you think of italy what are the images that are conjured up in your mind rolling hills vineyards wine fashion the david how about biscotti ah yes biscotti those delicious cute little cookies that you dunk into your coffee or cappuccino well this past thursday june 16th i had the privilege of participating in a biscotti workshop hosted at apicius a group of about 15 of us met at around 9:00pm with chef ken reitermayer just across the street from apicius chef ken teaches a few classes but spends most of his time as a pastry chef at bottega del cioccolato on via de macci just down the street from ganzo chef ken gave the group three recipes to work with for making our biscotti the first was a classic biscotti recipe called cantuccini di prato this is the most popular recipe for most biscotti and some pie crusts the second recipe was a classic ­ chocolate chip cookies chef ken said he chose this because he knew we d all know what chocolate chip cookies were the third recipe was a twist on biscotti and was called cinnamon buckwheat biscotti we all split into three groups and i went to the classic biscotti group because that s what i wanted to learn most then we began the baking process chef ken helped us all with technique and other tips our recipe and the chocolate chip recipe were pretty self explanatory but the recipe for the cinnamon buckwheat biscotti was somewhat of a challenge the team had to work fast because the butter they used was cold and they didn t want it to begin melting once all of our ingredients were mixed we began the baking we learned from chef ken that biscotti literally means cooked twice with cotto meaning cooked and bis meaning twice therefore the classic biscotti recipe was cooked once in rolls and then we removed them from the oven cut them into the iconic biscotti shape and then cooked them again the other two recipes however were only cooked once this is because with today s modern technology we have better ovens and more control over how things are cooked so cooking twice for some biscotti recipes is no longer necessary finally after about forty-five minutes of engaging conversation among the workshop participants and smelling tantalizing smells from the oven the biscotti were ready we were all so proud of ourselves we had no idea making this iconic italian treat was so easy and we can t wait to show our families and friends when we get home i also mentioned that homemade biscotti would make a great christmas gift below we ve included the recipes if you d like to try making them yourself cantuccini di prato ingredients 400 gr flour 00 or all purpose 200 gr sugar 200 gr shelled almonds 3 eggs 1 egg yolk 1 fresh vanilla 400 grams of flour is 2 and 2/3 cups 200 grams of sugar is about 1 cup 200 grams of shelled almonds is about 2 cups baking powder as needed salt to taste mix the flour sugar vanilla and baking powder and then make a well in the middle of this mixture add the eggs and the egg yoke whisk together and then mix with the other ingredients with hands when well combined add the almonds and then make small loaves and place them on a photos by nicole ryder


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7 studentservices june-jul 2011 newsletter 36 y cookie sheet do an egg wash over the loaves bake in an oven preheated to 180ºc 356ºf for 15 minutes remove from the oven cut into the typical diagonal biscotti shape and return to the oven until toasted these cookies also called cantuccini are traditionally eaten at the end of a meal dipped in vin santo a typical tuscan dessert wine chocolate chip cookies ingredients 450 gr flour 00 or all purpose 300 gr butter 150 gr sugar 300 gr chocolate/chocolate chips 450 grams of flour is 3 cups 300 grams of butter is about 1 and 1/3 cups 150 grams of sugar is about 3/4 of a cup 300 grams of chocolate/chocolate chips is about 1 and 1/2 cups salt to taste combine sugar and butter until lighter in color fold in flour add chocolate chips roll into logs and cut bake at 180ºc 356ºf for 15 minutes cinnamon buckwheat biscotti ingredients 250 gr flour 00 or all purpose 250 gr buckwheat flour grano saraceno 300 gr butter cold cubed 200 gr brown sugar 100 gr egg yolk 250 grams of flour and buckwheat flour is 1 and 2/3 cups 300 grams of butter is about 1 and 1/3 cups 200 grams of brown sugar is about 1 cup 100 grams of egg yolk is 6-7 eggs powdered cinnamon to taste combine butter and sugar add egg yolks add flour take care not to overly warm the butter don t over work the dough shape sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top and cut into little squares bake at 180ºc 356ºf for 15 minutes enjoy these are very fun to make and very delicious and it s really awesome to be able to tell your family and friends back home that you learned how to make biscotti in italy!


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newsletter36 student services june jul y2011 8 italian arts culture living with an italian one student s homestay experience by nicole ryder when every one of us was deciding on a study abroad program living in a home stay in our host country undoubtedly crossed our minds i d like to shed a little light on what it s like to live with a host family by discussing the differences between a home stay and apartment living here are the pros and cons to the home stay option all based on my personal experiences when i arrived in florence just over a week ago i really had no idea what i was getting myself into concerning my home stay when i arrived i learned that i was staying with one woman and that she spoke absolutely no english i ve found that other students in home stays have run into this as well which can be very difficult but i am also learning a lot of italian this is one major difference between a home stay and apartment living ­ you are completely immersed in the culture in a home stay other differences include meals staying out late at night and the issue of laundry all of these differences have their ups and downs the fact that my host mother doesn t speak any english is both a pro and a con it is a pro because i am learning a lot of italian which makes it easier talk to locals and help my friends when we re wandering around florence our out to dinner moreover i m gaining so much experience on how to deal with and communicate with someone when there is a definite impediment between us ­ speech however there are times when my host mother and i just don t understand each other and this has led to some cultural gaffs the difference in meals between home stay and apartment living is in my opinion a definite pro i get breakfast seven days a week and dinner during the weekdays a few of my friends in apartments told me they ve already spent about 600 on food alone since they got here ­ on groceries and eating out i ve saved a lot through my home stay moreover the food i get through my home stay is great authentic italian food again i would definitely call this a point for the team home stay the topic of late night rendezvous with your friends is both a pro and a con the part that isn t so great comes into play when i m out with my friends until say 1 in the morning and then i have to leave in the middle of the fun to go home however despite the fact that i am 22 since i am in a foreign place it s nice to have someone here in the city that makes me come home early so i have no excuse not to be responsible and safe finally on the issue of laundry i d say this is a pro and a con when it comes to home stays it s great that i get laundry service once a week and that i don t have to deal with the washer settings myself however it would be nice to be able to do my laundry whenever i want like at 10:00pm when i remember i need wash a shirt that is currently dirty for school tomorrow there are a lot of pros and cons to both home stay and apartment living when studying abroad i do not regret my decision to participate in a home stay i feel i am getting a real italian experience i m not just here as a tourist speaking english to other americans but instead i m learning italian speaking with locals and learning how a whole other culture lives the abc s of art francesca pagni s il mondo di re cubo by alex and becky chipkin you are a child and in your first year of school you are asked to draw your family you are not to look at your family but to draw them from memory until school your family is all you know then there comes this vast divide your life becomes severed between the time before you began school which was harmonious and calm and your life after you began school which is disconnected and filled with anxiety you are thrown into a place where no one knows each other and the adults who make the rules are not your parents so you can t ask them for help suddenly you realize the truth about life that there is a divide between imagination and the real that fairytales don t exist in actuality and that everything your parents told you was a lie children live in a world that is half imagination and fairytale half reality they live through the opinions and the stories told to them by adults in il mondo di re cubo francesca pagni exhibits paintings of the family through a child s eyes the impression of her works is pleasant but disturbing francesca pagni s work reminds us of the fauvists textile is


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9 y studentservices june-jul 2011 newsletter 36 inserted in her larger pieces while others are displayed with their corresponding handbags we are made aware that these are objects through this display and use of material we are confronted by their surface in les enfantes rouge we see the red paint of the childrens clothing applied freely the faces are blurred smeared in and out of their black borders the insertion of the piece of fabric on the small child s dress is the token that triggers the imagined scene the memory that pagni depicts we are reminded of the family portraiture by auguste renoir a child with her pet as in the farm echoes renoir s madame georges charpentier and her children 1878 however these aren t portraits made from a sitting from physical observation they are made from a different kind of observation one observed not from life but from the impression of it that which is imprinted in the mind the mind of a child in this way it is hard to say which depiction is more lifelike ­ that of observation or that of memory these paintings have no ego pagni does not seek to display a refined skill the forms we recognize are distorted and simplified from reality they are forms put into children s terms this simplification makes the figures and objects depicted become signs of those in reality francesca pagni s paintings and bags will be on exhibit at ganzo until july 12 creative money making on the streets of florence by vanessa hornedo walking through the city of florence it is easy to dismiss the amount of talented people here and regard them as people just trying to haggle you out of your money if you take a moment to really see what these people are doing it s actually quite ingenious florentines seem to have a knack for artistic vision and an amazing talent that makes it easy for them to sit outside and create beautiful pieces to be sold to any tourist who will stop and pay attention their creativity in making money astounds me the ponte vecchio is home to many of these artists/businessmen there is a man who makes motorcycles out of wire many painters and ink artists as well as jewelry makers and musicians my favorite local businessman is a gentleman who frequently sits near santa maria novella bending blades of palm leaves and grass into different animals such as grasshoppers moths and butterflies how one can come up with the idea that grass can become art is beyond me but i applaud the idea behind it and the motivation it must take to be outside each day using your talents and probably being passed over on a regular basis sure there are many people on the street who simple want to take your money without providing a quality product such as the men trying to sell coach and louis vuitton purses but there are also many people who deserve to be recognized for their talents the next time you are walking around the duomo stop and listen to the little old man playing his violinhe is often overlooked but his music is beautiful and his personality just as inviting as the sounds coming from his instrument although they may not work a steady job these artists deserve a moment of reflection photo by vanessa hornedo in the kitchen at ganzo by nicole smolensk for the past couple of weeks students from johnson and wales have been working at ganzo the gastronomia cultural association affiliated with fua throughout their stay in florence they rotate between waitressing/hosting front of the house and cooking back-of the house we had a chance to catch up with two students partaking in this intensive culinary education brian deason is from charleston south carolina majoring in food service management as well as culinary arts his favorite dish to make is ropa veja a panamanian dish stewed skirt steak with a tomato cilantro base his favorite italian dish to serve up to hungry patron is freshly-made pasta we also spoke to transfer student mariana velly miguel upon completing her associates degree this canadian decided to continue her studies in culinary nutrition mariana s favorite dish to prepare is ossobuco alla milanesa a veal dish since arriving in florence her favorite italian dish to create is fresh gnocchi.


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newsletter36 student services june jul y2011 10 why did you choose florence to study abroad b it was the best option i wanted to go to italy and with johnson and wales and florence was the best place to go to for culinary school m i was between studying in florence or singapore i chose florence because i believe it was a safer bet i am interested in mediterranean cuisine and i know italian pretty well q what classes are you taking here how do you like it b i m taking a cooking class where we learn about different regions and make certain regional dishes later in the day i have lecture where i have learned about food history and the significance of designation to make sure the product is at the quality it should be m i have lab in the morning with chef fabio we are exploring italian traditions and making seasonal dishes i am also taking a wine class where we have been learning about regional wines and how to properly drink them how do you like working at ganzo m i love it sometimes i wish there were less people in the kitchen so i could have more time and space but it is nice to be a real life situation here i had an internship working at a hospital where i worked long hours and all the food was processed it is such a different experience working here with all of the fresh food working in the kitchen for aperiganzo makes me want to be in the kitchen more b i really enjoy it chef pier luigi is a really good mentor i have learned some new techniques as well as refined techniques i had learned in the past q what is your favorite place in florence why m piazza torquato tasso it s a park right by a main road on the opposite side of the river it is nice to get away for a little bit and not be in the city center with all of the crowds i go there to relax and take in some sun b i enjoy exploring the city and getting away from the tourists and crowds i love how historical the city is such a difference from the united states the architecture is beautiful and i actually love the graffiti what were your first impressions of florence when you first arrived here have they changed now that you have been here for a couple of weeks how so b i didn t have too many expectations about florence i had an open mind i was looking forward to the delicious food m i am familiar with european cities i have traveled to sardegna corsica and barcelona i would really love to be completely immersed in italian la notte della moda by vanessa hornedo you might have noticed a lot of tell well-dressed and very handsome men crossing your path this week and wondered if the universe was rewarding you of if it was just a coincidence though i m sure we all deserve a reward they were probably here for this year s pitti uomo event la notte della moda was hosted in multiple locations throughout florence this week to debut new trends in men s fashion the event kicked off on june 14th and continued on through june 17th the base of the event was located at fortezza da basso where people were able to grab a map and follow the latest fashion ideas and most interesting things that are happening this season it is a new way of presenting the latest fashion concepts to the public and forcing them to interact with each other many of the events occurring around florence were free for the public to enjoy but you had to arrive early for a good photo opportunity there were aerial dancers fashion shows and concerts galore one of the main stages for these productions was at piazza della repubblica nice new designers were represented this year but the two guests of honor were scott sternberg from band of outsiders and kate laura mulleavy from rodarte these two brands have taken over the international fashion world over the last few seasons and got their chance to shine in florence this year as if free concerts and fashion shows weren t enough many retail stores across the city were open for suddenly inspired shoppers until midnight in celebration of the festivities photo by vanessa hornedo


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11 how to stretch your euro what one student wished she knew about spending money before she came abroad by vanessa hornedo foreign expenses can add up quickly and paying attention to your finances is critical for anyone especially students studying abroad is an amazing experience and it is important for students to act responsibly when out in europe on their own the worst thing that can happen is making it to the last two weeks and realizing you can t afford to buy souvenirs there are lots of ways to spend your money lots of reasons to save it and even more reasons to splurge on something expensive you re in europe after all here are five easy steps for spending saving and splurging while studying abroad your banking institution before or as soon as you arrive in italy or any other country you may be traveling to advise them of all your travel locations so that your account is not frozen and/or examined for fraud leaving you without a cent in an unknown place currency after arriving in the city you are traveling to if you miss out on fee-free client exchange at your bank prior to your departure airport fees are studentservices june-jul 2011 newsletter 36 y student voice outrageous and you can usually get better exchange rates at an atm within the city if you have another currency on you a great location in florence is a small booth next to the palazzo vechio on via vaccherieccia the man who works there doesn t charge extra fees and has the best exchange rates in town otherwise just take money out of the atm for an accurate exchange rate 3.withdraw enough money to get you through at least two weeks at a time and don t walk around with it all in your wallet at once this makes it easier to keep track of what you are spending and limit transaction fees incurred at atm s 4.think in u.s dollars if that is what the money in your account is especially when you are making a big purchase you don t want your 200 euro leather coat to surprise you and your parents when it shows up on your bank statement as almost 300 dollars as for meals out 40 euros might seem like a reasonable price to spend for a few course meal dessert and wine but keep in mind that you just spent 60 dollars just to feed yourself for an hour 5.spend money on things you know you won t be able to find in the states you can go to h&m and zara another time buy a genuine leather wallet or purse instead and if you ask politely for a discount there is a good chance they may give you one the brilliant lights of florence by laura de santis and nora takacs recently the student life and development department organized a snapshot activity an evening photocrawl where students were asked to take photos with a focus on bridges and facades along the arno river as the students snapped and clicked they captured bits of beautiful hidden passageways in and around the facades of buildings as well as statues that pay homage to some of florence s most famed historical and mythological characters it was great to see the students enthusiasm and curious queries of florence s renaissance beginnings and how it has evolved into a world famous city these keepsake images will leave an imprint of what they have shared and exchanged during this experience students were asked to send in their best photos of the evening and the best two would receive a prize here is a glimpse at our winners ben northorp and matt fowler the gentlemen behind the winning photos first place winner after spending a great night walking around admiring the lights of florence and clicking nora spoke to future pilot benjamin northrop about his study abroad experience how did you start to taking pictures at high school in north carolina i took a black and white film class i used my parent s 35mm camera then i got my digital camera which gives me more freedom do you prefer films or still photography i prefer photography because i m trying always to tell a story and i enjoy the challenge of doing that in a still image photo by benjamin northrop


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newsletter36 student services june jul y2011 12 what are you focusing on when you take a picture when light is coming from everywhere i like to use a long 10 second exposure i like that this result makes the light seem to be painted on the picture i really like playing with colors and lights besides studying to be a military pilot at embry-riddle aeronautical university tell us something else about yourself actually i m taking a cooking class here in florence i play violin and harmonica i like the arts i love community service and i believe that military service is its greatest form second place winner laura de santis sat down with second place winner matthew fowler he s a marketing communications major from central michigan university what has been your experience so far in florence it s a small but big city it is easy to get around and i like that there is so much to see and look at i have found most locals are friendly and hospitable even if there is a language barrier what do you do in your free time in florence go running with a friend through all the tourist groups it s a lot of fun where is your favorite place in florence piazzale michelangelo at night because you can sit on the steps and there is usually music being played it s also less touristy so you can enjoy the view and the company in a cozier atmosphere what was is/was your favorite student service activity so far it was `discover italy viareggio because i love the beach and i really liked the fact that there are showers along the shore line it s convenient and practical what are your plans for the remainder of the program i m going to rome for a weekend and i still have to find my favorite place to eat in florence what advice would like to give to future students who would like to study at palazzi go on an adventure everyday and although florence seems small there is a never-ending amount of things to see and places to go explore and find a special secret spot and make it yours photo by matthew fowler expectations versus realities studying abroad by nicole smolenski i was so excited to return to italy and spend four months here after having debated on studying in greece or italy for the semester i am really happy i chose to study here i am an italian minor at my university in new york so coming to italy was definitely a smart decision i had been in florence only for a day trip the last time i was in italy and therefore i was looking forward to really getting to know the city as opposed to rushing through the city to try to see everything i did not have too many expectations of my experience here and kept an open mind but i was truly expecting to be basically only speaking and hearing italian i love speaking italian and i knew by being immersed in it that it would further help me to learn the beautiful language i was also looking forward to eating the fresh fruit and vegetables from the market again when i got to florence i was definitely a bit overwhelmed it was a lot to take in ­ getting on a plane and flying thousands of miles away from home to a place where i knew no one ­ was a lot to handle initially i remember the first time i saw santa croce as i was walking to my apartment and i could not stop staring in awe of the beautiful architecture and all of the colors in the facade as always when first arriving in a new place i thought florence was huge and i easily got lost but after a short period i began to know my way around the city although i have been here since january when i walk along the streets i always manage to see something new now it is a little strange for me to casually walk through the beautiful piazza s here it was only a few months ago that i was staring at them in complete amazement it has truly been a great experience for myself spending six months here making florence my home away from home.


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13 studentservices june-jul 2011 newsletter 36 y faces places one student s photographs show her florentine discoveries by nicole ryder these locks have been put there and then the keys thrown into the river by countless lovers hoping to ensure their everlasting love this tradition was apparently started by a locksmith several years ago he had a shop at the base of the bridge and he started this tradition in order to raise his income now you can be fined a hefty 160 euro for putting a lock on the ponte vecchio this is the antique carousel of the picci family it is still run by carlo picci of the picci family now in its fourth generation it dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and has been restored on the top of the carousel you will also see panels with paintings of scenes of various italian cities including rome venice and pisa these hidden statues of mary that can be found in the oddest areas around florence are actually tabernacles and were built by the florentines to fight heretics and to combat the plague citizens felt they needed these images over their doors or in the streets to protect their families when looking at the amazing architecture of the florentine buildings don t fail to notice the small architectural details that are often overlooked these beautifully intricate openings in the walls are a mystery to me if anyone knows please let me know!


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newsletter36 student services june jul y2011 14 faculty profile a lesson on embracing and writing about life s travels from elisa biagini by simone bodmer-turner as students visiting italy for a summer a semester or just a few weeks to learn create and immerse ourselves in the florentine culture we all want to record our memories here in some form or another a journal a blog post-cards home and emails to friends we all participate in some form of travel writing to remember with vividness the memories that will start to fade once we return to our original home elisa biagini has revolutionized the travel writing experience at fua by straying away from a typical straight-forward and honestly boring journalism approach and encouraging her students to use all of their senses and emotions to pour their travels onto paper creating a final product that they can see touch hear and smell and most importantly represents themselves and their voice in the world photo by simone bodmer-turner born in florence elisa got her masters in contemporary arts at the university of florence and then spent time in the united states getting her masters in contemporary literature at rutgers university when she returned to florence in 2002 she started teaching art history classes at fua when the school was still small dabbled in teaching poetry writing her passion and fiction writing and is now focused on teaching travel writing and publishing her own poetry and essays elisa strongly believes in less traditional travel writing experience in which she hopes to inspire students to change their preconceived views about what travel writing is and try out a variety of approaches and genres of writing in order to learn how to best express themselves she explains especially for students traveling abroad in their early twenties traveling is about growing up changing and understanding yourself and a multifaceted concept of home i want my travel writing class to provide some sort of sense and structure to this development of study abroad students and help them find an individual voice through their writing students produce a one page piece about a travel experience of some sort weather personal or literal for each class and each student gets a chance to read their piece aloud and hear feed back from elisa and the other students students are not just assigned to write another this is what we did account of their weekend in another city but are challenged to write creative short stories poems pieces from different perspectives and pieces about a specific aspect about florence to find a voice that they feel best expresses themselves the students are challenged to not just travel talk and write about their experience but to really think about all aspects of their travels as they are experiencing them assignments include nightly readings from past famous and lesser-known travel writers such as flannery o connor and jack kerouac to get inspired by other approaches to recording real and fictional travels elisa s advice to us as students travelers and those of us whose imaginations travel on paper instead of in reality to be daring and open with yourself your peers your experiences and the place you are in just let it happen


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15 studentservices june-jul 2011 newsletter 36 y don t miss integrazione culturale la cucina ebraica ganzo via dei macci 85/r la palestra now open monday-friday 10:00am-6:00pm corso tintori 21 ground floor sign-up is mandatory for all activities please send an e-mail to and provide your full name email address and cell phone number see the student services activity calendar for more details thursday july 7 8:30pm 10:45pm do s and don ts by rebecca monaco do do find your favorite café or bar regularly visiting the same place can earn you friendships with the employees you can get discounts or specialties from people who recognize you do get lost so long as you have a point of refrence to get directions to on your way home getting lost is the perfect way to find the hidden side of any city in italy do try different kinds of food you may want to stick with the safe choices but if the restaurant or gelateria is good switching to an unknown type could be a very rewarding experience you may even find a new favorite do use ganzo the school s restaurant not only tastes ridiculously good but it s also a bit cheaper than a lot of restaurants in the city the servers speak english and are very friendly don t don t travel alone after midnight always stay in a group even if you think the distance is too short to matter florence is a safe city ­ if you know how to use it don t use taxi s as everyday travel taxis are expensive it s best to save them only for when you need to transport yourself and some heavy luggage or are left with no other choice but to walk home late at night alone see #1 don t give your telephone number or address to every cute guy or girl you meet you may think a summer fling would be awesome but make sure you actually know who you re exposing yourself and your roommates to don t waste all your money on gelato find the gelaterie you enjoy the most and use it as a snack but don t spend too much money on it there is plenty of other food to try in florence.



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