Studying abroad in Florence, Italy was an experience unlike any other. For four months, I had the opportunity to continue my studies in a small Italian city, and explore beautiful European destinations with new friends and old.
During my time abroad, I challenged myself to move outside my comfort zone and try different things. Whether that meant eating a large octopus tentacle in Lisbon, Portugal, riding a two-person motor scooter in Dubrovnik, Croatia, or learning Italian for the first time with CEA in Florence -- there were many times that I had to push myself to really make the most of my time abroad.
Although I was in a foreign city challenging myself to try new things, I always found comfort through CEA in Florence. The team was always so welcoming and eager to make the city feel like home.
The team accomplished this by doing a number of things. One of the ways in which CEA accomplished this was by offering group activities to engage in around Florence. One of the CEA Interactive Learning activities that I most enjoyed was Cinema Night.
CEA Cinema Night in Florence
Back at home in the U.S., I consider myself to be somewhat of a frequent moviegoer. That said, I was excited to experience Cinema Night as one of the Interactive Learning opportunities. I hadn’t put much thought into what the moviegoing experience would be like in Florence, so when it came time for the group to see The Shape of Water at an authentic Italian cinema, I was shocked to pick up on the vast differences. The cinematic experience in Florence reminded me of what it’s like to see a Broadway show in the United States.
Just a two-minute walk from my apartment, I entered the theater. It was beautiful, and everyone around me was dressed relatively nicely (back at home, I sometimes go to the movies wearing outfits that could easily be mistaken for pajamas). The concession stand was small, and offered popcorn in one size and an array of American candy. The inside of the theater resembled an American playhouse, with rows of seating lining the first floor and balcony seating surrounding the sides. It was brightly lit, until the massive screen draped with curtains on either side began to screen the movie.
Watching the movie was even an experience in and of itself. To start, there was an intermission halfway through the movie, so people could use the restroom and fill up on food and drink as needed. The movie played in English with Italian subtitling, although this proved difficult when the actors started speaking in Russian with Italian subtitling (I still need to go back and re-watch that part). But all in all, it was a crazy different experience that I would have never expected.
Cinema night is just one of the many exciting surprises I experienced while studying abroad with CEA in Florence. Without my decision to bite the bullet and study in Italy, I would have never been able to pick up on these differences and create these incredible memories for myself.
Isabel Rodgers is a CEA Alumni Ambassador for University of Michigan who went abroad to Florence in Spring 2018.
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