Hello! My name is Grace and I am a sophomore in Gallatin and pursing a concentration in Fashion Business and Marketing. I am originally from Santa Barbara, California, but made the leap to New York so I could live in a big city and finally have seasons. The first winter was rough but it felt like an initiation to live in the city. I definitely can’t say that I’ll miss winter this time around. Having survived Blizzard Jonas before coming to Italy, where 50 degrees is considered cold, I welcome the change. I am studying in Florence this semester, and I am already off to an amazing start. The city is absolutely beautiful and I find myself aimlessly wandering through the street, always stumbling upon a little café or an old, captivating wood door. I chose to study in Florence because it is one of my favorite cities. I am fascinated by how in this crazy modern world Florence has remained incredibly preserved. The historical sites to us newbies are astounding, whereas for the locals it’s just another day walking by the Duomo. Gallatin offers Fashion Business courses here, which made the decision very easy. In terms of fashion and fashion business, Florence is special because many of the major Italian brands, like Ferrgamo and Gucci, were founded here. This city oozes of glamour and style. My concentration entails the more business side of fashion, which is probably obvious from the name. This means I study more of how to create a brand and market it to a certain audience. While abroad I hope to learn more about fashion in Italy and the influence fashion has had, especially in Florence. I think it will be very interesting to compare this to New York’s fashion scene.
I have been looking forward to this semester for many months. I decided to go abroad on a whim, and I am very happy I followed through on my initial gut feeling. These last months I have been thinking about all the travelling I want to do, what to pack, and what Florence will be like to actually live in. My expectations have been completely transformed having only been here a day. I still want to travel, but I also want to get to know this city and the rest of Italy. I thought packing would be quite the challenge, but it’s amazing how many outfits you create with a good pair of black jeans and Nikes. As for living in Florence, I feel just as at home as when I am in Santa Barbara or New York. I have found my little grocery store down the street, and my neighborhood is amazing. I am in a great apartment just steps from the Duomo, it has all the modern necessities, but still has the original brick arches in the hallways. This is a constant reminder of how much history we are living in.
Once I saw the campus I knew I was in heaven. To actually attend classes on a multi-acre estate that houses precious Italian art and has some of the most incredible gardens is unreal. Living in a different city and experiencing a new culture is one of the best ways to find out more about yourself. I am excited to see what I discover about myself as a resident of Florence, and to see the changes other people experience.