Putting Theory into Practice
Jessica Visconti, an Expressive Arts Therapy student, studied abroad with the American Institute of Foreign Study (AIFS) in Florence, Italy, for the spring 2015 semester. For Jess, choosing Florence was an easy decision: the rich culture and artwork, her family’s Italian heritage, and the opportunity to return to the country she had fallen in love with as a high school student all made Italy an attractive choice. After being referred by a peer and reviewing the AIFS program, she was also convinced by the interesting classes, flexible schedule, meal plan options, and multiple excursions.
While in Florence, Jess took studio and art history courses to fulfill degree requirements. She also gained other valuable life and professional experience through her placement as a volunteer teacher for “Play in English” classes at Creative Corner, an arts center offering English language classes through creative methods. She taught her students through games and art-related activities, and also used music to help make classroom connections.
Reflecting on Her Experience
Overall, Jess feels that her experience in Florence helped foster an enormous amount of respect for other people and cultures, making her more patient with others around her and giving her important insights on the difficulties faced by those struggling with culture shock or other life transitions. Since returning to America, Jess interned at an assisted living facility and used these new insights to help connect with her residents as they adjust to their new environment.