Kent State University’s Honors College is a Living-Learning Community where first-year students like Michael Trauman have discovered a home away from home, and a place where they can pursue their dreams.

Twelve students from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) and the School of Visual Communication Design (VCD) will travel to Florence, Italy, for Kent State University’s inaugural Photography in Florence program this spring semester.

When Joshua Budd thinks about all the places he has traveled up to his senior year of high school, only one has been outside of the United States, and that was a quick jaunt to Niagara Falls, Ontario, in Canada. So, the thought of actually living in a foreign country, especially Europe, was well outside of his comfort zone.

I arrived after having not slept for nearly two days. I was drained from a friend’s wedding, had layovers in Toronto and Frankfurt that were just long enough to not afford me time to nap, and I have never been able to sleep on planes. After negotiating an overpriced cab ride from the airport, I was riding in the backseat of a Fiat, just minutes away from what I had been promised was one of the great cultural achievements of the world, Florence. I found it, at this point, unremarkable.

Six recent high school graduates who will be starting classes at Kent State University this fall got a head start on their college education by studying abroad at Kent State’s Florence Summer Institute in Florence, Italy.