Arrivederci, Waco!

November 21, 2013
Baylor in Florence 2012

The students spent a week in Rome during the Florence program in the summer of 2012. One of the many historical landmarks they visited was the Trevi Fountain. (Photo by Meagan Downing, Journalism-New Media student)

By Drew Mills, Journalism student

As much as students studying at Baylor love the surrounding environment, they can learn even more about global cultures while studying abroad. That's why 15 Baylor students packed their bags this past summer to take classes in Florence, Italy. Professors Sharon Bracken and Curtis Callaway were tasked with teaching amid the distracting Tuscan landscape.

Beyond the scenery of Italy, there is a stark difference in culture. Interactions with others in Italy are different than those of Waco.

"Italians are much more open than people in Waco," said Emilie Fogleman, junior journalism student. "Jessica(Sellers) and I were taking photos and came across a group of men playing chess. I ended up having a conversation with one in Italian."

Their average day consisted of more than waking up and rushing to class. A typical day started with waking up and grabbing chocolate croissants and espresso with friends. It almost always ended with some sort of sweet. "I already miss sitting on the bridge, overlooking the Arno River indulging in cookies and nicolla gelato from La Carraria," said Taylor McNamara, senior journalism student.

In addition to the month spent in Florence, students spent a week in Rome touring the city. They went to various museums, monuments and the Vatican.

"There's no way to sum up five weeks in Italy," Bracken said.

Classes offered included Photography, Travel Writing and Advanced Editing. Callaway taught photography while Bracken taught writing and editing. Being in Italy didn't help to lighten the coursework.

"Italy was almost like a job," Bracken said. "We knew we had something to do and a limited time to do it."

Add to this the exploring and touring available, and there was hardly any time to sit back and relax. Even with the hectic pace, the experience was still rewarding.

"It gave me a sense of confidence," Fogleman said. She said that Italy pushed her to pursue other opportunities. "It really brings your college experience full circle."
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