I Franceschi

Students arriving at our ACCENT Florence Study Center are bound to run into “i Franceschi,” our dynamic duo of Programs Coordinators, Francesca Pannozzo and Francesco Lavanga. For today’s post, we asked them to share their experiences studying abroad and their advice for students making the transition to a whole new culture.

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Florence to London to Paris

University of California student Rachel DeAngelis is no stranger to our ACCENT Study Centers in Europe. An adventurous traveler, Rachel has studied abroad with ACCENT three times in three separate cities. Each time, Rachel has taken full advantage of the services offered by our ACCENT staff and the opportunities that abound in some of the most beautiful cities on Earth. Rachel has opted to share some of her best memories of her time abroad and offers some tips for making the most of this one-of-a-kind experience! Continue reading

ASU in Florence: Exploring Science Through the Arts

This week’s post focuses on a group of Arizona State University students studying literature and medicine in Florence. When asked about their favorite study abroad moments, the students and faculty gave some truly wonderful responses. We are more than happy to share them below, and wish the students the best of luck as they get settled in back home! Continue reading

TCU in Florence: The Heart of My Study Abroad Experience

Today’s post comes from Texas Christian University student Brooke Barlock, who spent her time in Florence volunteering at a local elementary school.

The primary goal I set for my study abroad experience was to make Florence feel like a home. I didn’t want to be a tourist, looking at the city through the lens of a camera. I wanted to assimilate, participate in Florentine life as if I was a local. Fortunately, ACCENT gave me every opportunity to do just that.

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California Baptist University Architecture Students Explore Florence

This week’s post features architecture students from California Baptist University as they explore a variety of architectural sites throughout Italy.

This Spring, students from California Baptist University are studying architecture in Florence and Rome. For the Florence portion of the program, they started off with a visit to the Certosa, a monastery located on the summit of Monte Acuto – also called “Holy Mountain”- a cone-shaped hill situated near the village of Galluzzo, a town south of Florence. Continue reading

An Excerpt from Insights: Designing Change in Florence

Florence_-_Graffiti_-_DanteThe Insights newsletter highlights innovative programs with ACCENT. Today’s excerpt comes from our November 2016 edition. For more Insights, visit our newsletter at: http://accentintl.com/insightsnovember2016/

Over the years, countless groups of US undergrads have flocked to Florence to study Art and Art History – and what better place to do it? Loyola Marymount University Design professor Saeri Cho Dobson chose a different approach, however. Against Florence’s rich cultural patrimony and in the shadows of Renaissance masters, Dobson challenged students to view the impact of contemporary art and design through a social justice lens. In Florence, a city defined by its artistic past, students from Los Angeles looked toward the future.

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Taste – An Excerpt from La Repubblica

Emma Zamec, a University of Minnesota student interning abroad in Florence, recently contributed to a segment in the Italian magazine La Repubblica. Emma’s article, which focuses on the Taste Food Fair, highlights the many delicious and intriguing exhibits on display. Although the Taste Food Fair has come and gone, we are pleased to share Emma’s contribution.IBSNXL_Taste12_008-0x600_FDFBNX

Emma is interning at Magenta, an English-language publisher located in downtown Florence.

Although this is changing, it is known that women continue to reign in the kitchen at home while male chefs dominate the scene at top-starred restaurants. The Taste Food Fair, however, brings the visitor to the source, back to the farm where traditionally, both sexes work to create the ingredients of the cuisine for which Italy is so renowned.

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From Words to Pictures : Capturing Memories Abroad

Today’s post comes from University of Minnesota student Alex Lucke, who, when words were not enough to describe her time in Florence, recorded her stay through a series of photographs. We are happy to share her reflections below as she prepares to leave the city she has called home for three months.img_0679

Before I left for Italy, I wanted to make sure I wrote about the whole experience. I set up my blog, spent too much time deciding on a template, and conjured up the most Italian scenarios I could write about.

At the beginning of my time in Florence, it was easy. I didn’t know anyone in the program and used writing as an outlet, a reminder of something from home. All the pasta was fresh, the wine was cheaper than water, and every street I walked on was a new, cobblestoned adventure.

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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 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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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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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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98 Steps

Today’s post comes to us from ACCENT San Francisco’s new Programs Assistant, Samantha Proteau. Sam participated in an 11-month exchange program in Paris, living, studying, and working for nearly a year among native Parisians. In her first post for the ACCENT Blog, Sam tells us about how overcoming stress and shyness allowed img_0633her to achieve a whole new sense of independence and personal growth.

In a very last minute decision, I extended my college experience to participate in an exchange program in Paris.  I was hesitant in the beginning, eager as I was to transition into the professional world; but then I remembered how remarkable my first study abroad experience in Florence, Italy had been and became certain that another study abroad trip would meet such great expectations.  How different could this new experience be? Continue reading

Celebrating ACCENT’s 25th Anniversary!

October 31st, 2016 marked ACCENT’s 25th birthday! To celebrate, our Study Centers in Europe have been throwing parties in appreciation of 25 years of successful cooperation with schools, students, and our partners abroad. ACCENT Paris’ Lily Mac Mahon describes the festivities that took place at our Paris Study Center.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of ACCENT, and all 5 Study Centers — spread across 4 different countries — have been celebrating! The team and students in Florence got to enjoy some delicious ACCENT-themed cookies and here in Paris, we tucked into a classic French fraisier (strawberry cream cake) and a chocolate layer cake! screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-14-09-44 Before the celebrations began, Ray Vernon, the Executive Director, gave a wonderful speech about the history of ACCENT, from when it started as a small company with only a few programs in Paris and Florence, to its current status as a successful study abroad program provider for schools across America. In a world where learning foreign languages is becoming perceived as seemingly inessential, and people are experiencing fear and uncertainty, Ray explained why it is so important for students to “take back the message that it’s still a fantastic experience and that study abroad is still very special!”screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-14-04-48The celebrations were a great way for our students to get to know the staff and ask them questions about their experiences at ACCENT. When Adrien (our academic liaison in Paris), who started as an intern and has been with ACCENT Paris for over 12 years, was asked to describe the best thing about working at ACCENT, he said: “Having contact with students keeps you young inside; and as a French person, it’s really nice to see the students making Paris their home after only a few months, learning how to adapt to another culture, some actually become quite French themselves!”

During the last 25 years, ACCENT has helped 50,000 students (over 10,000 in Paris alone) facilitate their study abroad experiences and has partnered with over 100 universities on  2,450 programs. In the words of Ray, the ACCENT team would like to “thank all the students from the bottom of our hearts for coming this semester.” This semester, and semesters moving forward, ACCENT is thrilled to continue to support and encourage students in their intellectual pursuits, personal growth and cultural understanding.

~Lily Mac Mahon, ACCENT Paris

Click through our gallery to see how other ACCENT Study Centers have been celebrating our 25th anniversary!



ACCENT Florence: Learning About Italian Culture Through Food

This week’s post comes to us from the ACCENT Florence Study Center, where Programs Coordinator Lilia Lamas tells us about the culinary adventures our Florence students are embarking on, and what Italy’s incomparable cuisine can teach us about Italian language and culture.

Some of the most talked about and photographed things while studying abroad in Italy are students’ wonderful culinary adventures. What did you have for your first Italian dinner? What gelato flavors have you tried? What pastries are your favorite? How do you prefer your caffé? What pasta dishes do you like best? Have you had the bistecca?

Italian cuisine is well-known around the world, but living in Italy, cuisine becomes an intense multi-sensory experience of divine things like mozzarella di buffala (fresh mozzarella), freshly made pasta, and delicious pastries with your cappuccino in the morning. While studying abroad in Florence, students not only have the opportunity to experience Italian cuisine independently, but also by learning new recipes and techniques through class visits and activities.

cucina_18 One of these is a Pizza Making Class with the Bianco brothers of Pizzeria O’Scugnizzo in Florence. O’Scugnizzo is a certified authentic Neapolitan pizzeria in the heart of Florence’s oltrarno quarter, just a few steps from Piazza del Carmine. The Bianco brothers are fourth generation Neapolitan pizzaiuoli and teach the traditional way dsc_0874of making pizza. Francesco Bianco explains, “We use a sourdough (lievito madre) that has been in our family for generations, and let the dough rise for 24 hours.” Each student shapes the dough (as Francesco says, “you must gently massage it”), and then adds each topping with care. The pizza is then baked in a 400-degree Celsius brick oven for a few minutes and eccola! The pizza is ready!

Another culinary adventure students embark upon in Florence is the cooking class at Apicius (a local Culinary Education school). With an integrated approach to cooking, both in practice and in language, this activity engages students’ stomachs and their minds. Students prepare a 3-course “pranzo” lunch that includes a pasta dish made from cucina_7scratch, a second entrée, and a dessert. Before the lesson, students learn culinary vocabulary to help them while they cook.

This Fall, one of the professors of the UC Mediterranean Food program, Prof. Sergio Rufini, enthusiastically encouraged his students to try traditional Florentine dishes that have very interesting histories, ingredients and seasonality.

So dear readers, when in Italy (and, in particular, in Florence) please try at least one of these dishes: la ribollita, papa al pomodoro, peposo, lampredotto, trippa alla fiorentina, and bistecca alla fiorentina to name a few. For those with a sweet tooth, here are a few traditional Tuscan sweets: pan con l’uva, schiacciata alla fiorentina, and cenci for carnevale.

tuscan-dishes2For those of you who would like to try some of these delights at home, here are recipes for pappa al pomodoro and pan con l’uva.

~Lilia Lamas, ACCENT Florence

Custom semester programs with ACCENT reflect the unique identity and learning objectives of the US university while reaching into the deep network of local resources at the ACCENT Study Center. Get in touch to design a semester for your institution at prog-dev@accentintl.com.