I chose Art History Abroad because I had never tried anything like it before. I'm a big believer of throwing yourself into the deep end and learning how to swim. So, I thought there couldn't be a better way to spend my gap semester than in a new country learning about a subject I had barely even heard of.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
I did not go through a program provider or university to find AHA. I met the director, Nick, at a gap year fair at my high school during my senior year and figured out the rest on my own! The AHA team was incredibly flexible and responsive (despite the time difference), and I was able to sort everything out myself.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
One piece of advice I would give to a new student would be to ask as their tutors as many questions as they can possibly think of. All of the AHA tutors are incredibly knowledgable and they want to cater the course to your needs and interests. They also have great stories to share. All you have to do is ask!
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
I would say there isn't an average day in the sense that you are doing the same thing every day. However most days follow a similar structure. We would meet as a group at around 9 am every morning and head off to our first lesson of the day. The lessons varied in location from church, to museum, to a public square. Sometimes we would take a cooking class, a private tour of a collection or cathedral, or were taught how to make Venetian masks! Around noon we would break for lunch and meet up again around 1pm for another lecture. After that, we would be free until dinner when we would meet usually as a whole group and discuss the day! Unless we had a special event, we were free for the evening, but often I would find myself hanging out with the tutors and other group members all night.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
I was probably most nervous about being away from home for so long. My time with AHA was the longest I had ever been away from my friends and family and didn't know anyone else going on the program. But as soon as I met the tutors and some of the other students on the trip, I knew I was going to be completely fine. I think my views on homesickness changed because I no longer worry about being alone in the same way. Being away from home for some long allowed me to develop the confidence in myself to be able to chat with anyone or become friends with anyone.