Going Global. Studying Abroad at Kent State’s Florence Center
Students will find no better time to consider studying abroad than “now.” Yet most students find the prospect of studying abroad a daunting challenge fraught with many uncertainties. Amber Cruxton, the Associate Director of Education Abroad within the university’s Office of Global Education, advises students otherwise. “For those students who want to study abroad but are anxious about being on their own,” she explains, “I direct them towards our Florence Center. It helps if students look at it like just another Kent State regional campus. But one that is located in Florence, Italy. You’ll be taking Kent State courses from Kent State faculty alongside other Kent State students. Students travel together, study together and room together. So you are never entirely on your own. Our Office and staff pretty much has everything taken care of for you, right down to the flight arrangements.”
Kent State’s Florence Center is especially conducive for students who have never been abroad previously. Amber, who studied in Florence for an entire summer herself and who now travels there frequently as part of her role as Director of Education Abroad, points to the easy transition most students have when studying in Florence for a semester and how she is more than happy “to help students work their way through this convenient process of living and studying abroad.”
While the Kent campus consists of hundreds of acres and dozens of buildings, the Kent State Florence Center reflects a European style whereby the entire campus is located in one building. The main building, Palazzo Vettori, is a former palace built in the15th century and located in the heart of Florence. The building is ideally located within the city’s historical district and within easy walking distance of Florence’s many museums, historical landmarks and authentic Italian restaurants. The Palazzo has recently undergone extensive renovations to better accommodate students and their needs while creating a more convenient and community driven environment. “The real campus is the city itself,” Amber explains. “We encourage students to utilize the numerous resources in the city that surround them.”
At Kent State Florence, students live in fully furnished apartments with other Kent State students. For the ease and convenience of the students, the Florence staff coordinates residency arrangements to ensure that students are free of the hassle of making their own housing arrangements and that they are located near the Florence campus with access to many essential amenities, such as entertainment, food and transportation.
Amber indicates that many students have preconceived reservations about studying abroad and she made clear that many of these “study abroad myths” are simply that – myths. She recommends that students curious about studying abroad should schedule an advising session with one of the Education Abroad staff in the Office of Global Education. The Office’s advisors are uniquely qualified to answer questions and guide students towards a study abroad experience that best suits a students particular interests and academic goals. Besides a semester in Florence, Kent State can also offer students shorter-term, faculty-led programs during the spring, summer and winter breaks.
“Studying in Florence is truly just like studying at another branch of Kent. All of your resources are right there with you. Students are surrounded by other Kent State students, faculty and staff and Kent State has a wonderful mutual relationship with the local people of Florence,” Amber reassured. “Florence is an easy place to live and although it is a city, it still has a personal, welcoming feel. Florence is filled with so much beauty and so many kind people. Each student studying in Florence will have the opportunity to take away something unique.”
Frequently Asked Questions Amber Receives:
I don’t speak a second language, will that be a problem?
Not at all. Almost all of the classes offered at Kent State Florence are taught in English, the only ones not in English are the foreign language classes.
Will there be classes in my major?
Yes! Kent State Florence is truly a program for everyone. While there are dominant majors, like nursing and fashion, in the program there are still many classes that are useful to a wide variety of majors.
Isn’t studying abroad really expensive?
Without proper planning it could be, but by utilizing all of Kent State’s assistance, there will be very little variance in expenses between studying in Kent, Ohio and Florence, Italy. Students are still able to use their financial aid, there are additional aids available and there are scholarships offered exclusively for students studying abroad.
What should I expect at Kent State’s Florence location?
Studying at Kent State’s Florence location is really a wonderful opportunity and students should not feel intimidated. The transition is basically seamless and there are eight full time advising staff members in Florence to help in that process. Studying in Florence is almost as if you are studying at another one of Kent State’s branches, like Ashtabula or Tuscarawas, except this branch just happens to be in Italy.
For more information about Kent State’s Florence program, visit www.kent.edu/florence.