Outstanding summer programs for teens since 1982
Header Item 1

The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Going With the Flo-Rence! – Pre-College Enrichment Florence


Eppur, si muove!

Another week has started in the city of Florence, and we all continue to embrace the words of Frances Mayes. Mayes quipped, “I had the urge to examine my life in another culture and move beyond what I knew.”  Each day we continue to push our minds to new horizons and push ourselves to conquer new physical and mental challenges. It has become evident that each student will come back changed from this program and the moments that they experienced in Italy.    Everyone has started to compile his or her list of “must-dos” in the city. Thankfully, all the classes are helping this process, and the evenings are becoming more eventful. This week we witnessed an auto show and an acrobatic display, where a man walked a tight rope across the Piazza della Signoria and three ladies performed an aerial silk act from the Palazzo Vecchio! The dare-devilish acts were extolled by all within the square and we were all mesmerized.

This week, we all jumped into Monday morning with high spirits after our trip from Cinque Terre! During the afternoon, a large group of students ascended to the top of the Cathedral of Santa Maria deiFiore. Faces dropped in awe as we took our final steps onto the Duomo’s highest platform, and the panoramic view came to the forefront. All of the students took pictures with the sensational background, and many of us stood in admiration of the city that lay before us.


That night, everyone had a good time! The gentlemen during “guys night out” ate to their hearts content at a renowned restaurant called, Acqua al 2. Meanwhile, across the Arno River, the ladies ate in the Piazza Santo Spirito, and found a small festival and joined in the celebration that marked the end of the soccer season. Lauren emphasized that no one knew a festival was going to occur, and the music was amazing. As night continued, we don’t think that anyone could have imagined a better evening.

Wednesday marked the first of three birthdays for us on the PCE Florence program. Nicole B. had articulated that she wanted a memorable birthday, and her Italian sixteenth was one that she will remember forever! After a group dinner, the students acquiesced in the decision to go to a surprise. All the students were flabbergasted when they saw we were doing karaoke! Although nervous, Callie, Nicole B., Natalie, and Vivienne did a wonderful rendition of Beyoncé’s, “Single Ladies”, and Hannah, Mandy, Caylie, Emily, Jenna, Imani, and Ruthie belted out Britney Spears’, “Baby One More Time.” The evening was filled with laughter, and the night continued with joyous birthday wishes!

As previously mentioned, the classes are helping the students learn more about the city. Italian Culture has explored quite a bit of Florence and the students continue to learn about the Florentine history. This week the class has venture throughout the entire city to locations like, Piazzale Michelangelo and the Palazzo Pitti! 

The students in Community Service were excited this week to embark on a new project. The Italian staff led us toward a garden near the Residence, and the crew was able to help maintain the plants and space that is used to help teach disabled people about horticulture. The students also learned about how the Kyoto Protocol has impacted Italy, and how Italy continues to provide more resources, like water, to its citizens for free. Many students were shocked that some water fountains can even provide citizens with sparkling water!

The entire staff continues to be impressed with the talent of the Photography students. Each student continues to hone their skills while taking pictures of stickers, people, doors, geometrical shapes, bikes, and other challenges they are tasked with during the lesson. Further, the students’ ability to edit their photos has shown stanch improvement. We are all very excited to see the students’ best pictures by the end of next week.

Finally, Cooking has created some scrumptious delights like, risotto alla milanese, tiramisu, and gnocchi alla romana. All the food is heavenly, and the students are starting to discover their inner chef-like abilities! In addition, these students were able to try different gelatos during class this week, and their fondness for the class continues to grow.


The city has so much to offer, and we are excited to head to Pisa followed by Venice this weekend!

For now, tutto é bene che riesce bene!

The Westcoast Blogger

If you think this sounds like fun, learn more about joining one of our 21-day or 28-day student trips to gain credit and pre-university enrichment with classes at college in Florence, Italy.