Italy: home to gondolas, the first pizza, the World Cup soccer champions and the largest number of University students doing a study abroad program.

The University’s Office of International Programs offers six different study abroad opportunities in either Florence or Rome. U.S. professors teach all courses offered in Italy in English, with the exception of Italian language. Study Abroad Adviser Heidi Spence said the classes mimic those of the University better than other study abroad programs.

“It’s attractive to students that want to study in English but still want a taste of the host language and culture,” Spence said.

LSA senior Layne Scherer studied in one of the Florence programs last year through the office and enjoyed the opportunity to supplement her classes at the University with real-life experiences in Florence.

“In America we do get really self-centered and going abroad and opening up of different cultures makes people better world citizens,” Scherer said. “It’s important to remember that, and it’s hard to get that feeling living in America your entire life.”

The classes offered include Italian language, a music program focusing on vocal pieces, classic studies and a number of rotating courses. This is because the professors in Italy change annually. Spence said this results in an opportunities for students with varying majors to study abroad.

Scherer said she would suggest studying abroad to other undergraduates.

“You can learn as much as you want in the class, but the slides and pictures don’t really capture the true effects,” she said.

Students who live in Florence through the study abroad program live in a villa owned by an Italian count. Spence said the students live in surroundings complete with professionally manicured lawns and daily meals prepared by a gourmet chef.

The Villa’s location, 10 miles away from Florence, left something to be desired by its occupants. Scherer said she felt separated from the city and would recommend a different program for other art history majors who want more than a taste of the products of the Italian Renaissance.

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