Ciao! My name is Annie Blackard, I am a third year Psychology Student from USF currently studying abroad at Florence University of the Arts in the beautiful city of Firenze. Thanks in part to the Mark and Kay Orr International Affairs Study Abroad Scholarship, I will be spending this semester studying in one of the most beautiful and inspiring cities in the world, and sharing it here with you. I am so lucky to have been given this opportunity to study here in Florence, a breathtaking city with a culture rich in history, art, and yes- amazing food!
What inspired me to study here at FUA, in addition to all of Firenze’s magnificent beauty and culture, is that Florence University of the Arts offers such unique courses that I could never take back home. This semester I am studying some intriguing topics including Art Therapy and Mindfulness Meditation. These courses will be incredibly beneficial to me in pursuing a career in counseling psychology, where I plan to utilize these practices of art therapy, mindfulness, and other expressive therapies with my clients to help them cope with everything from anxiety and depression to PTSD. The courses offered here at FUA are incredibly unique and engaging, which is fortunate considering that there is so much beauty to be explored all around us. With midterms right around the corner, I can say that studying abroad definitely requires actual studying- but these have been some of the most fascinating courses I have ever taken and my professors are truly amazing, so it really has not been difficult remaining engaged in the coursework.
Overall, I feel that FUA was the perfect choice for me, and after my first 6 weeks in Florence, this has certainly been one of the most eye opening experiences that I’ve had in my lifetime. Through exploring the city and learning about this new place, I have also learned so much about myself and grown tremendously as a person- and we’re not even halfway through the semester yet! I can’t wait to share with you these incredible experiences that have made my studying abroad in Florence so special, and hopefully in doing so I will be able to convince you to take the plunge and study abroad yourself. It is a truly indescribable experience that every student should strive for in their time at school. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to sharing more with you soon. Ciao!