Ciao, Roma! Initial Reflections from the SBCC Rome and Paris Program

SBCC StudyAbroadLogoContact404_404This Spring, ACCENT has teamed up with Santa Barbara City College for a multi-city Film Studies program in Rome and Paris. SBCC student Jeffrey Leaf has been selected as the program’s Official Student Blogger, and we are very pleased to publish his reflections as he and his classmates explore the wonders and challenges of the study abroad experience.

Group photo

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Overcoming the Distance

Today’s post comes from University of Minnesota student Alexandra Savre, who spent her fall 2016 semester in Florence. After a month back home, Alexandra reminisces about her time and abroad and promises to return someday.DSCN2386

“Never walk alone,” “always hold your purse shut,” “this experience will change your life,” “please be safe,” “you’ll come back a new person”.

Ever since I brought up the idea that I wanted to take my studies abroad, these words became redundant. The nerves, the excitement, the unknown were exhilarating, and the fact that I would be studying in the capital of Tuscany didn’t seem real. That I was heading overseas with a passport in my hand and a spirit of adventure in my heart was all I knew, but it all felt so vague. As I was entering the line to the security gate at the Minneapolis airport, tears flooding my face, saying goodbye to the people I love most, the reality of leaving home became real.

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London Likes…!

In this week’s post, ACCENT London’s Programs Coordinator Kadri Paju and Assistant Director Matt Maslin talk about their favorite local spots for quick snacks and delicious meals, both conveniently located near the ACCENT London Study Center!


Kadri Paju likes…

Caffe Paradiso, 28 Store Street

Whenever I’m in Bloomsbury early in the morning, I treat myself to an almond croissant and a cappuccino at Caffe Paradiso on Store Street.

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ACCENT Rome: UCEAP Students Visit “The Post Internazionale”

This week’s post describes an excursion by University of California students to the offices of “The Post Internazionale,” an online newspaper specializing in international affairs. During their visit, students learned about the changing face of journalism in today’s highly-connected world.

As part of their Italian Media class, UCEAP students had the chance to visit the newsroom of The Post Internazionale, the first Italian online newspaper specializing in international news.

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ACCENT Paris: Le Grand Musée du Parfum

IMG_4460This week’s post comes from our ACCENT Paris Study Center, where Cultural Activities Coordinator Mirek Siedliski describes the newly-opened Grand Musée du Parfum, a museum devoted entirely to the history and art of perfumery.

Paris already has an unparalleled palette of museums, but the recently opened Grand Musée du Parfum is the only place where one can learn about the first perfume known to mankind, how smells and emotions are connected, and how the sense of smell works with olfactory memory.

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Advice from the ACCENT Madrid Question Box!

We always enjoy hearing from students about how studying abroad has changed their lives and given them a fantastic learning experience. Our ACCENT staff in Madrid have enjoyed hearing from students so much that they have set up a Question Box, where students can tell us (anonymously or otherwise) what made their study abroad experience special. Here are just a few responses from students, accompanied by a short introduction from Madrid Programs Coordinator Bethany Remington. IMG_20170123_191456_707 Continue reading

London Called, I Answered

Today’s post comes from University of Southern California student Tara Bitran, who spent four exciting months in London. Below is an excerpt from Tara’s travel blog, wherein she says a poignant goodbye to London, promising to visit again soon.

img_4261Well, guess it’s time to hang up now. London called, and I indeed answered. It’s been a long four months of spotty connections and some heartfelt moments, but all in all, I’m pretty happy with how this phone call has played out— probably the most fruitful of my life, in fact.

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ACCENT Florence: Lessons Learned from Culture Shock

This week’s post comes from our ACCENT Florence Study Center, where our staff there discuss their first encounter with culture shock, and the ways they have managed to turn that confusion and disorientation into a useful tool in their personal and professional lives.

It is often said that study abroad is an unforgettable experience.  Yet sometimes these unforgettable moments may be a bit embarrassing. But eventually, over time, you’ll be able to share and laugh about them. These moments of panic or chaos are part of the whole experience, learning moments where cultural differences and adventures in problem solving are encountered.  A part of growing as humans and travelers, these “embarrassing” or “awkward” experiences add to the wisdom acquired in study abroad. The ACCENT Florence team would like to share some of these special moments with you from their study abroad experiences.

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Happy 2017! A Statement from ACCENT Executive Director Ray Vernon

As we kick off 2017, we look forward with renewed optimism to forging and strengthening our partnerships and welcoming many new students, faculty, and administrators to our Study Centers. This week, our founder and Executive Director, Ray Vernon, shares his thoughts on last year’s triumphs and struggles and looks ahead to a productive and successful 2017! Continue reading

Global Edge: Theater in London

Our first post this year comes from Rona Wang, a first-year student who studied in London for her fall semester with UC Berkeley’s Global Edge program. One of the courses Global Edge participants take is called London: Theatre Capital, taught by Professor Alan Read from King’s College London. In her post, Rona analyzes one of the plays the class attended and describes how studying theater in London has been a truly eye-opening experience.370744_770_preview

UC Berkeley Global Edge courses are designed to let us take university breadth requirements while also learning more about the city we are studying in. One of our London-based courses is called “London: Theatre Capital,” in which we attend a performance every other week, alternating with site visits to places like the Tate Modern to explore what “performance” really means. Continue reading

The Beauty of Studying Abroad

Our final ACCENT blog post of the year comes from UC Berkeley Global Edge student Lynn Hoang, who shares with us how spending the first semester of her Freshman year infirst-picture-in-london London broadened her perspective, inspired personal growth, and gave her the chance to develop firm friendships with her classmates.

The best advice I would give to anyone studying abroad is to prepare yourself for change. Continue reading

ACCENT Rome: Students Visit an Exhibition at Palazzo Braschi

Today’s post comes from our ACCENT Rome Study Center, where Assistant Programs Coordinator Alice Mangia describes a fascinating exhibition featuring one of the most complex and influential painters in Baroque Italian Art: Artemisia Gentileschi.

University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) students, faculty, and ACCENT staff recently had the opportunity to visit an exhibition of artist Artemisia Gentileschi’s work with an exceptional guide: UCEAP Professor Cristiana Filippini.  Filippini earned her BA in Art History at the University of Florence and both her img_20161206_174017290MA and PhD at Johns Hopkins University, where her research focused on the 11th century frescoes of  the San Clemente Basilica in Rome. She has since extensively researched Artemisia Gentileschi’s contributions to Baroque art, developing a semester-long course for UCEAP: Women & Art: Women as Artists, Patrons, & Subjects in the Art of Rome.

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Study Abroad and the Spirit of Giving

One of our favorite things about the ACCENT Blog is the abundance of uplifting stories that come our way. There is nothing more affirming than hearing a student tell us how Study Abroad contributed to their personal growth and breadth of experience.

ACCENT student Matilda Mead is no exception. When asked about the most rewarding experience of her time in Paris, Matilda told us a story about how she and other foreigners in Paris met up and prepared a massive Thanksgiving meal for a refugee camp in Saint-Denis, contributing to not just the spirit of the holiday season, but to the very real necessity of treating others with love, respect, and generosity all year round.

Without a doubt, my most rewarding experience while living in Paris has been working with new friends to aid the refugee population in the city. It all started when my flatmate told me about a new-french-friends-via-facebook-groupsFacebook group where you can meet fellow foreigners living in Paris and grab lunch or drinks with them, work out or go to museums together, practice French together, etc.

I wanted to branch out and meet new people, but I also really wanted to do something to give back to the community. After the US election results, I was quite down and depleted and felt the need to go out in the world and help people less privileged than myself. Continue reading

Learning Through Service: Students Spread Literacy in Madrid

Today’s post celebrates the excellent volunteer work done by ACCENT students participating in the Heritage Spanish Class, a course designed for native Spanish speakers. Students in this course were not only able to further develop their language skills, but also put them to good use, serving as volunteers with a local non-profit organization. Service learning abroad is a unique and inspiring way for students to engage with their host community. 

Several varieties of Spanish-speakers studying together in one class, with remarkable differences in oral and written skills and different Hispanic cultural backgrounds: this is a typical Heritage Spanish Class. Heritage Spanish courses are designed for American students who grew up in Spanish-speaking households. Each semester, we offer our Heritage students a different course, adapted to their individual needs. This semester, Professor Carola Saiegh and I designed a Service Learning course, supported by ACCENT Madrid Study Center Director Vanessa Rodríguez and UCEAP Spain Center Director Laura Marqués-Pascual.

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The Florence Bucket List: Seizing the Moment in Italia!

This week’s post comes from University of California student Brittany Ryley, whose Fall semester in Florence, Italy is quickly coming to a close. Regardless, Brittany is determined to enjoy every single second of her time in Florence. Here is what she had to say about how she makes the most of her time abroad.

I had been anticipating my return to Florence for years after my first visit to this colorful city, and was more than ready to embark on a new adventure. I wasn’t sure what to expect about living in Italy or the realities of immersing myself in Italian culture. What I knew for sure was that I would be surrounded by some of the world’s richest art and history for the best four months of my college career.

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