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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Incredible First Days in EATaly! – Florence Pre-College Enrichment

Incredible First Days in EATaly! - Florence Pre-College Enrichment

Eppur, si muove!

Eleven hours after leaving New York, our entire team felt the rays of the Italian sun melt onto our skin and the excitement started to begin. The energy was palpable, and everyone was ready for the adventure to begin. Although slightly jet-lagged, smiles and chatter filled the bus as we headed into the heart of Florence toward our Residence on Ricosoli Street next to the Duomo of Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fior. Within minutes, new friendships started to develop and past friendships began to rekindle. The best summer was about to begin!

Hungry and eager to eat some delicious Italian food, every student explored the Marceto Centrale and ordered lunch from various shops. An abundance of gelato, pizza, sandwiches, and pasta filled the giant building and the aromas floated throughout, and everyone successfully ordered their first meal. Full and tired, everyone was ready to lie down for some much deserved rest.

PCE Florence in Photography Class

The following morning the students became acquainted with the city of Florence. Each of the program leaders directed a tour and allowed the students to navigate the city with maps. As suspected, there were some fun moments of confusion within the small Italian streets, but every group was able to find their way toward notable landmarks like the Piazza della Repubblica and the Basilica of Santa Croce. In addition, the students were able to take stellar photos of the historic sites, themselves, and their new friends in the beautiful Tuscan setting.

Over the past couple of days the students have been very busy in their classes at Florence University of the Arts. In the morning the students have been taking their electives: Italian Culture, Community Service, and Independent Workout. We learned in Italian Culture that the Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge not to be bombed in World War II, and that the jewelry shops that now occupy the bridge were once all butcher shops. The students involved in Community Service recently met with elementary aged Italian children, and have started to interact and teach them English. The Independent Workout students have discovered over the past two days that Italians do not work out in gyms as frequently as their American counterparts.

In the afternoon a cacophony of sounds can be heard from the streets, and the students blend into the crowds of people learning about the culture. On Tuesday, Ruthie, Jenna, and Caylee came back to the Residence raving about the delicious pizza from Gusta Pizza and the phenomenal flavors and savory taste.  Many of the students are discovering local eateries, and the dialogue between students about where the “best food” is located is becoming a big conversation.

PCE Florence in Cooking Class

Also in the afternoon, students are taking their Major Class of either Cooking or Digital Photography. We really enjoyed Digital Photography and most said, “Class is fun because we learn how to edit, and are allowed to explore the city to take photos.” On the other side of the city, students have been cooking pastas like uova al pomodoro, spaghetti aglio e olio, and fettunta e frittata di zucchini. Every student in the cooking class has highlighted that they cook copious amounts and they always leave class full.

Tutto é bene che riesce bene!

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.

Ciao for now,

The Westcoast Blogger