Summer 2019: Florence, Italy
From June 7-July 5, 2019, 26 Cerritos College students studied art and literature in our pilot program in Florence, Italy.
During summer session A, students enrolled in Dr. Lisa Boutin-Vitela’s Art History
102 or Dr. Steve Clifford’s hybrid English 102/English 110 classes, and after two
weeks or preparatory study on campus, students and faculty boarded planes from LAX,
arriving to study in Florence for the final 4 weeks of the summer session.
Living in apartments with their Cerritos peers in the heart of the Renaissance city, students attended classes and applied their art and literature study to visits to the great museums and churches of Florence. “I thought the Duomo was a great introduction to the spectacle that is Florence,” one student wrote in her program evaluation. “It was a great experience all around and was planned with a perfect balance of activities and freedom to explore.”
Florence site visits included the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Duomo, at the heart of the city; the Uffizi, Bargello, and Accademia Galleries for the art of Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Donatello; and a hike to the 1,000 year-old San Miniato al Monte church overlooking the city. Despite the European heat wave sending temps into the high 90s and low 100s, students engaged daily in the culture of Florence and in hands-on experience of their academic study. They also experienced opera and classical music performances during their stay.
Additionally, the faculty and students spent a whirlwind weekend in Rome, touring the Vatican museum and St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as the Borghese Gallery, and visiting the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon.
The program was “definitely much more culturally enriching than taking classes on campus,” a student wrote of the experience. “Not only did I learn and immerse myself in a new culture, but I also became more aware of myself and my perspective of the world. All in all, it was an interactive learning experience and a stepping stone in my career goals.”
Summing up the experience, one Cerritos student claims, “It is not just about classes. It is about young people dealing with real life situations and learning to deal with them. The Cerritos College staff is excellent but this program offers lessons one needs to learn outside the classroom.”