What I Did in Florence

Current Florence Student Ambassadors

Vivian Nguyen (Human Biology) - Winter 2017-18

Day after day of classes and travels, I became smitten with learning for the sake of learning, and what I learned in the classroom and out in the streets and museums of Florence informed my studies here on the home campus more than I could have anticipated. For me personally, I found many benefits with studying in Florence, benefits that include but are not limited to ideas for my senior capstone project, a refreshed approach to my STEM courses on campus, as well as a greater appreciation for what it truly means to be a student with intellectual vitality.

Sarah Phillips (Spanish) - Winter 2017-18

I learned that the only person standing in my way in everything (i.e. academic and social, etc.) is myself. I learned that my major and minors, while unconventional, are exactly what I should be pursuing. I learned my vocation is immigration and migration studies. I learned that I have some of the best friends in the world, and I hadn't even met half of them before arriving in Florence. I learned that I love Italy, and I plan to move there after graduation. I learned that, even though I will always want my parents, I don't need them. I learned that six months in Europe is actually NOT a long time, but rather a small taste of different cultures. I learned a lot more than this, so ask me about it when you come talk to me at office hours!

Past Florence Student Ambassadors

Alyssa Liew (International Relations) Winter 2016-17

In Florence, I learned how much I valued exploring new things, whether that be trying a panino place other than my one true love All’ Antico Vinaio or switching my study spot to the rooftop of the Oblate with a beautiful view of the Duomo. At Stanford, and in Florence, I found so much comfort in the routines that I established. However, challenging myself to actively change one thing each day encouraged me to find new interests and change my perspective, both in Florence and back at Stanford.

Kirill Safin (Electrical Engineering) - Winter 2016-17

Studying Italian was made easy not only by the amazing professors, but also being in Italy itself, and even cooler -- classes in grocery stores and cafes! What a better way to learn a language? Not to be outdone, being in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, is an amazing opportunity to fine-tune your artistic abilities -- and the abstract art & photography classes are spectacular in what they teach, and Florence is the best place to put those skills to the test.

Valerie Chen (Bioengineering) - Spring 2015-16 

I chose Florence because I wanted to see what Italy held beyond its romanticized stereotypes of fountains and home cooking, and I felt these were things that required more than a vacation trip to answer. I was attracted to its strong language program because I wanted struggling in another language to be part of my abroad experience. The homestay program was also a big draw because interacting with local people was my number one goal going abroad, and the homestay was a stellar built-in opportunity to do so.

Cam Chesnutt (Mathematical and Computational Science) - Winter 2015-16

One great academic benefit is small class sizes because this environment allows for better access to professors. In Florence specifically, an academic benefit is that art history courses take place throughout the city so students are able to see famous works in their original place.

Sage Behr (Comparative Literature) - Winter 2014-15

The experiences that ended up being most significant came from exploring the people and spaces that invest in Florence as a community: the It’s Yoga! studio (on Via dei Bardi, where the Stanford Center is located) and Orti di Pinti community garden on Borgo Pinti, and the amazing art students at NEMO Academy of Digital Arts.

Kristin Chesnutt (Human Biology) - Winter 2014-15

During my time abroad, I became aware of my comfort zone and how much I wanted to stretch myself. Since returning to campus, I have applied this desire for stretching to my academic, career and personal decisions.

Angela Sy (Computer Science) - Spring 2013-14

Being a Computer Science student, I felt like I never had time at Stanford to pursue classes outside of the Engineering department. At Florence, I was finally able to take classes like film and urban architecture that I had always been interested in (and also conveniently fulfilled general requirements) but had never had the opportunity to take on campus. Having a balance of classes is really important for any Stanford student but I had always felt pressured to take as many science and engineering classes as I could at Stanford.

Christine Wong (Biology) - Winter 2013-14

I had an amazing experience with my host family. My host mom is a force; she took care of my three host siblings and I with a lot of love and humor. I looked forward to going home and spending time with my host family in the evenings and on weekends. I watched a lot of soccer games and movies with my little host brother and host sister.