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Outside the Comfort Zone: A Business Major Takes a Beginner Art Class

March 27, 2023
by JJ Koumaglo

One of the reasons some people shy away from studying abroad is a fear of falling behind academically. I understand everyone is on their own timeline when it comes to college and mine is to graduate within four years. While choosing my courses for this semester I wanted to take courses that will apply to my major, but ones that would also challenge me and push me out of my comfort zone.

While looking at the classes in Florence offered by CEA CAPA I wanted to ensure that the classes correspond to specific degree requirements from my college. I am pursuing a business major from the University of Colorado Boulder and while most classes would not impact my main course requirements, I ensured that they were beneficial to other parts of my degree. CU Boulder offers a Global Business certificate, which gives students an overview of conducting business on an international level. The courses I am taking while abroad are directly contributing to the completion of my certificate.

So, without any further rambling, here is an overview of my classes in Florence and some of the views I see on my way to class at different times of the day.

  1. International Marketing

As part of my certificate, we are required to take three core international business courses, along with some business electives. The International Marketing class outlines the way marketing is viewed on a global scale and teaches us the ways companies approach expanding into new markets. This class meets once a week for two hours and 30 minutes and has required group projects. With my group, we are exploring the possible expansion of an Italian company into a new market for our semester-long final project.

Sunset and clouds over a neighborhood parked with cars
The sun setting in my neighborhood on my way to my 5pm class.
  1. International Finance

This class also fulfills a core international business requirement for me. International Finance explores the way financial decisions are made by companies when conducting business in different countries. The course is also two hours and 30 minutes. There is also a final paper, which consists of researching one of the concepts discussed in class and applying it through a case study. For the rest of the semester, we will be having guest speakers to discuss other financial concepts.

Sunrise over Ponte Vecchio with a kayaker on the water
Sunrise on my way to my 8:30am finance class.

  1. Gender, Culture, and Society in Italy

This sociology course applies to a global diversity credit required by my school. TheGender, Culture, and Society class is the same length as the others. I wanted to take a class that gave me an overview of Italian culture, especially the way gender is viewed within this society and through history. My professor is incredibly knowledgeable, and we have been able to take a couple of class trips to different museums. During our third week, we went to the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology and are planning further excursions throughout the rest of the semester.

  1. Beginning Watercolor

This is the one I was most excited about! I love art but I have not always been the best at it, so I wanted to take a class in a city that has so much beautiful art and history. During our Beginning Watercolor class, we learn the basics of watercolor and how to use this medium. As a beginner's art class, I have been able to learn and experience it at my own pace. We had to purchase the materials the first week of class so we are able to use our own materials to create wonderful pieces. Each week we are learning more and more about art and watercolor which I am extremely excited about.

A student in hoodie and jeans holding a cup of coffee and taking a selfie in the mirror at an art studio
Me with a cappuccino before the start of my class.
A colorful painting on a door
The street view of the colorful door of the Accademia d'Arte for my watercolor class.

I am excited to keep learning from all my professors and challenge my course load with these wonderful classes. Hopefully, by the end of the semester, I will be able to paint a picture with watercolor, a picture that is worthy of the beautiful sights of Florence.

JJ Koumaglo is the Content Creator - Blogger.
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