Written by Roxana Padilla (Cornell University) Student Correspondent CET Florence, Fall 2017
As a kid, I was pretty obsessed with Hilary Duff. Her music? Loved it! Her clothing line? Rocked it! Most importantly, though, I was all about her show Lizzie McGuire. You can imagine my initial sadness turned excitement when the show ended its run with the release of The Lizzie McGuire Movie. My six year old heart yearned for closure, and my family indulged me on opening weekend. In the movie, Lizzie and her classmates travel to Rome where adventure obviously ensues, ending with an impromptu pop song performance at the Coliseum. I laughed, I cried, and I inevitably fell in love with Italy. How could I not? The scenes of the characters zipping through narrow alleyways on their vespas and traversing the cobblestoned streets making their way from one breathtaking historical monument to the next awoke my sense of wonder. I promised myself from then on I was going to make my way there the first chance I got.
Fast forward to my sophomore year of college, where the time had finally come for me to decide where I wanted to study abroad. Italy was of course at the top of my list, but after a thorough sweep of my university’s approved listings, every program in the country had an art history and or Italian culture focus, a far cry from my major in plant science. Did I want to compromise on my dream location or embark on not only a semester in a new country, but with an new academic focus as well?
Well, it’s been a little over three weeks since I’ve arrived in Florence, and I honestly don’t think I could have chosen a better program or European location to study abroad. Through CET activities and personal excursions, I’ve already attended an opera performance at Il Teatro del Maggio, hiked to the top of a hill in Fiesole for a beautiful view of Florence, partook in a wine tasting, tried a gelato and pizza making class, and traveled to the breathtakingly gorgeous towns of Cinque Terre.
As for my classes, while completely out of my comfort zone, they are surprisingly enjoyable and engaging. It’s evident my professors love what they teach, and their enthusiasm is incredibly infectious. If someone had told me three months ago that I would be looking forward to a 9AM Renaissance Art and Architecture class, I would have laughed in their face.
Despite everything I’ve already seen and done, I know I’ve only just scratched the surface. I can’t wait to find out what this semester has in store for me!