Cam Chesnutt


Stanford in Florence, Winter 2015-16
Major: Mathematical and Computational Science
College year while abroad: Junior


Why did you choose to study abroad in Florence?

I enjoyed studying Italian at Stanford, especially with Giovanni Tempesta, and I wanted to explore the culture further in Italy. Additionally, I wanted to meet new people at Stanford and engage in an academic environment different from what I had experienced on campus.

What were your expectations before you went and how did those change once you arrived in Florence?

I had very few expectations before going abroad because I was prepared to step outside my comfort zone both academically and socially. In Florence, I engaged in new academic pursuits and made new life-long friends.

What were some of the academic benefits from studying abroad in Florence?

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.

What did you learn about yourself while you were studying abroad?

I improved my independence when I was abroad by living alone with a new family. I tried to spend some time alone everyday, something that is difficult for me to do on-campus, and this time allowed me to think and gain a new perspective about my life back home.

What was the most challenging experience you encountered while you were abroad and what did you learn from it? 

Dealing with a meningitis scare in Venice. I learned that one needs to set aside substantial quantities of time when figuring out medical issues in foreign countries.

What was the biggest cultural adjustment you had to make?

In Italy, family dinners take 60-90 minutes compared with my normal 10-30 minute dinners on-campus at Stanford. It was a big adjustment to sit for these meals, however, they turned out to be one of my favorite things from my time abroad.

What was your favorite part of your everyday life in Florence?

Nightly meals with my wonderful host family or my cappuccino every morning.

What was the most memorable experience you had while you were in Florence?

Receiving Diego Della Valle’s scarf during dinner with him at the Stanford Center in Florence.

What 5 words would you use to describe your experience?

Stimulating, Beautiful, mesmerizing, peaceful, thought-provoking


Fun Questions:

What was your favorite food you had in Florence?

My host mom's pasta carbonara.

What was the most valuable item you took with you on the program?

My laptop.

What was your favorite music/band that you discovered in Florence?

Marco Mengoni