FUA-AUF

Florence University of the Arts - The American University of Florence

About

Studying abroad at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) is characterized by the institution’s efforts in cultural integration. The institution’s position places FUA in direct contact with the city’s culture, movements, and events. The mission is to offer university level academics and services that not only bring about learning, but most importantly an active understanding, participation and contribution to the city by students from all academic fields, personal backgrounds, and nationalities.

Website
www.fua.it
Founded
1995

Reviews

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Samantha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the pleasure of studying abroad in Florence, Italy about two years ago. As an Italian major, this was perfect for me. I believe I was fully immersed in the language, rich culture, and warm community that Florence had to offer. Through Florence University of the Arts, I took language and culture courses, participated in two internships, and even got to teach in a bilingual elementary school. The university offered possibilities I couldn't even dream of. I was able to truly get a glimpse of what teaching Italian would look like, and this experience made me love it even more! Between the helpful staff at FUA, the prestigious professors, and global ties that the university offers, I would recommend studying here to not just Italian majors, but to students of ALL majors.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would become more involved in the many extra-curricular activities and events that FUA has to offer!
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Jessie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I took Florence Sketchbook at FUA. We had assignments to do every week, but I found myself inspired to draw outside of class and that which was not assigned to me. Every day I would take my sketch book and sit on the Arno and just find some ornate design or piece of architecture that I was captivated and intrigued by. I sat on the ledges by the Arno River and just sketched. What I found was that people would walk over to me and just look at what I was drawing. The difference between Europe and the United States is that if I were to draw in New York, no one would really find that activity all that interesting and with the hustle and bustle of that city, everyone is always on the move and extremely busy. In Florence, the pace slows down, and people are actively involved in the beauty and history that is Florence. Individuals look around, interact with strangers, and different cultures converge in this magnificent city. I miss the feeling of comfort that I felt in Florence just being able to be alone and talk to others who were actually interested in the art that I was rendering.

What would you improve about this program?
The program could be improved by getting a more diverse student body of not only Americans, but people from other locations in order to have different interactions amongst the students.
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Kristin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying abroad for a semester in Florence was the best semester by far. Even though we did not have a dryer, a microwave, and ranch dressing, and I had to pay for water at all of the restaurants, those were memories I will never forget. I loved learning new things every single day and how the culture in Italy and Europe is different than in the U.S. Although some days were slightly difficult, it was all worth it in the end.

What would you improve about this program?
At FUA there are two student run restaurants- one is a bakery and the other is a sit down restaurant. My program had me purchase 75 meal units to use at both places and honestly I was not the biggest fan of them. I struggled to use all of my units.
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Mariah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My class exceeded my expectations. I loved every day I was in Italy and Florence is the perfect city to live in. I would do it again in a heart beat! Studying abroad is a learning experience that can not be taught any other way.

What would you improve about this program?
I enjoyed my program, the class, and my living situation. If there is anything that could be improved it would be the preparation. I did not feel very prepared going on this trip. There was not much information sent to me before hand unless I found it at my own university.
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Lauren
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I enrolled in FUA's 1 year Publishing Career Program as a post undergraduate student from the US. Having had 6 internships in undergrad before my time at FUA, I was impressed but the professional opportunities FUA provided directly through my career program's structure. Aside from creating a published book for a prestigious Florentine company by the end of the program, FUA provided additional projects through their different departments to further professional experience gained including writing for and editing the school's semesterly magazine, volunteer opportunities within the community and seminars that focused on specific tracks.

FUA is located directly in the center of Florence, providing the ability to use the historical center as a muse and learning point for many of the artistic and history based classes taught at the school. My absolute favorite experience with the school was being able to eat at Ganzo, FUA's restaurant that also serves as a learning lab for some of their culinary students. The meals served there were always unique with a spin on classic Tuscan dishes. I never left Ganzo hungry. Some of the head chefs are Michelin star, so eating meals prepared by a teams of chefs under their supervision made the experience that much better. Ganzo also has one of the best and most affordable aperitivos in Florence.

Overall, I enjoyed my time from start to finish at FUA. I credit the school for my falling in love with Florence and know the work I produced there during my studies will impress those I share with back in the stated once I apply for jobs. I would recommend their programs to anyone looking to study in Florence, Italy.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have the library stay open longer hours as many students in college tend to study late at night or early in the morning. I would also suggest the gym hours to be extended since some program's classes can last all day.

Programs

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Grace Joh

Job Title
Academic Coordinator and Communications/Publishing Staff Member
Grace Joh is the J School academic coordinator and Communications/Publishing staff member at FUA. She is a native Californian and has studied literature at UC Berkeley and multimedia communication at Università degli Studi di Firenze. Grace is based in Florence, Italy at FUA’s main campus in the Santa Croce area.

What does the future hold for FUA - any exciting new programs to share?

One of my absolute favorite programs is Tutto Toscana, held in the fall. Students learn all aspects of event production, from food prep to art direction, during a 3-week session in Florence and continue on to NYC where we hold events at the James Beard Foundation. We are also offering 4-year degree programs in three distinct disciplinary areas.

Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?

There is a big difference between language learning and cultural competence. One can easily memorize words but a true grasp of culture means applying those words to both cultural contexts and everyday life.

I’ve seen students in beginning language classes who were completely integrated in the space of the semester thanks to volunteer extracurriculars or service learning components of their classes. I don’t mean “language fluent” when I say “completely integrated,” but connected to life in Italy, to living like a Florentine, to caring about your new albeit temporary community.

I was a traditional language learner myself back in college and I would’ve loved to take a break from conjugating verbs to experience what we offer today at FUA, whether it’s learning Italian through community garden activities or interacting with elementary-level kids at local public schools in Florence.

And finally, cultural immersion has another positive side effect - it enriches your own national and personal identity thanks to widened perspectives.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I’ve realized that simply living in a different country or learning words in a foreign language does not make you a world citizen. It’s about how the experiences you accumulate make you stop and reflect upon how they impact your attitude and mentality towards the concepts of place and identity.

Working at FUA and in both the English and Italian languages have expanded my personal confines and allowed me to acquire new ways of thinking, expressing myself, problem solving, and much more.

Also, thanks to the stimulating projects that I am assigned to, I continuously discover that my work ethic has something to learn every single day. That goes to say that boredom is definitely not an issue in my daily life!

What unique qualities does your company possess?

The quality of our academics, first and foremost, and consequently our efforts towards programming courses and tuning our faculty and staff members into the learning needs of an international student body. Another important quality is our implementation of experiential learning.

We started to see a long time ago that internships are not the only answer to professionalizing a student’s experience. Experiential learning requires a clear vision, specific criteria, well-measured parameters, and a deeper understanding of how not all students fit into a single model.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of the FUA team.

Without a doubt the first time I gave a speech in front of a dinner audience at the James Beard Foundation. While there are so many moments that I can count in Florence, as a food lover whose stomping grounds during college days were in the SF Bay Area, I never once thought that I would end up organizing an event and publicly speaking at a revered food institution, not to mention doing so through a job abroad.

Funnily enough, thanks to a life-changing decision that led me to Italy and my entrance into the world of education, I unexpectedly fulfilled a dream-like situation that my college self 10 years ago would’ve laughed off as an impossibility.