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Academics & Classes as a CEA Study Abroad Student in Florence

February 03, 2020
by Lauren Peacock
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During the first week of CEA orientation while studying abroad in Florence, Italy, CEA makes it clear that they don't play around when it comes to school. CEA emphasizes that it's called study abroad and not party abroad, but that doesn't mean that you can't balance school with your social life and enjoy yourself. Here's what it's like to be a student at CEA.

The good thing about CEA is that the classes can be very small. The smaller class size means that the professor is constantly asking questions and engaging students, which keeps you focused rather than falling asleep during a lecture hall.

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 Flower stand I pass by on my leisurely walk to class every day.

Besides engaging students in the classroom, most classes have at least two or three times when they go explore the city of Florence. For example, for my Fashion and Merchandising class, we walked around looking at window displays and went inside certain stores to hear from advice and tips from the boss. These classes are particularly fun because you can apply what you are learning in class to the world around you.

A big difference for me is that most classes don't allow laptops and are extremely strict about phones. At MSU, I would always take notes on my phone or laptop in all my classes. Teachers also find it rude when you get up and leave class to go to the bathroom, so only emergencies are allowed.

School in another country is the same as it is at home: a priority. You are only allowed to have 2-4 absences per class, depends how many times your class meets a week. Since I am a student at Montclair State University, few absences and small class sizes are something I'm used to but others find it harder to adjust.

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 The carousel outside of Piazza della Repubblica at night.

The most important part about school is that since you are thrown into orientation so quickly, it helps you adjust when you first get there. There is comfort in going to school in a different country, because it is the only thing that you can relate to home at first.

All of the teachers and staff at CEA speak English as well as Italian, so although you may feel like your life is a mess outside the classroom, school is nothing new. The CEA staff will answer any questions that you have, big or small, which is extremely helpful.

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 A sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo after a long day of classes.

I am studying journalism and communications at Montclair State University. Two of my classes here, The Culture of Food and Wine and Fashion Merchandising, count as electives, and Italian 1 fulfills my language requirement.

I am also taking communication and Global Competence, which fulfills my communications degree at MSU. Studying communications in a different country teaches you the difference in communication styles and perceptions in each culture.

Lauren Peacock is the Spring 2020 CEA MOJO Blogger in Florence, Italy, and is currently studying at Montclair State University.
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