In the Summer of 2015, International Programs interns Jackie Thornton and Ryan Shields participated in the four-week study abroad program in Florence, Street Photography.
Why did you choose this program?
Ryan: “My major is digital media with a focus in motion media, so this program directly related to my major. I also wanted to explore still frame composition.”
Jackie: “I have a minor in photography, so that was a big draw for me. Also friends of mine previously went on the Florence trip and loved it, so that really helped convince me.”
I understand that each student on the trip had to come up with a photographic theme, a focus for taking pictures for a final project. What were your themes?
Ryan: “My theme was on action and reaction, photographing people. It was challenging to try and make sure I didn’t shoot touristy things.”
Jackie: “For myself it was challenging to pick a theme and to try and not make it look like a tourist book. I had two themes, horizontal lines and tattoos.”
How did you both prepare for this trip?
Ryan: “Once I learned that I was accepted into the program, I began brushing up on Italian and learning about the culture and cities of Italy.”
Jackie: “I wanted to learn how to use my camera before I left on the trip.”
What were the most notable cultural differences you experienced?
Ryan: “Travel was a lot different, walking and renting bikes are definitely the way to go and a smart car is a normal sized vehicle in Italy.”
Jackie: “I noticed that in Italy there is a lot more importance placed on family and that people lived in multi generational homes.”
What was the biggest challenge while studying abroad in Florence?
Ryan: “I think that a lack versatility in cuisine and slow pace of life was challenging, it was especially hard to follow an itinerary in a slow paced country.”
Jackie: “I felt that living with other people proved challenging for myself.”
Can you describe one of your most memorable moments that you had?
Ryan: “Being immersed in the most artistic city of the world (Florence) was very memorable.”
Jackie: “On the last day in Venice I went off by myself to find Marco Polo’s house and I found it! Another memorable moment was being able to capture unique images that I would never have the opportunity to do so in the U.S.”
What advice would you give to other students thinking of study abroad?
Ryan: “Make sure that you document your memories whether it be through pictures, journals, or keepsakes.”
Jackie: “Try and learn the most you can about everything you see.”
Blog post and interviews by International Programs intern Sam Hudson.
For more information, please contact Susan Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.