KSU Florence program works to create more opportunities for abroad students

Taylor Meade

Kent State Florence program’s expansion to educational programs will give more students the opportunity to study abroad.

Amber Bollinger, coordinator of the Kent State Florence program, said the program is working with the College of Public Health to create courses.

“They (College of Public Health) are running a course this summer as their first offering in Florence,” Bollinger said. “We’re going to see how that goes and then work with the College of Public Health to develop anything further for the fall and spring semesters.”

Bollinger said the university may or may not continue to offer the course, Comparative Health Care Systems, according to the Office of Global Education website, in future semesters after its trial this summer.

If a public health student wanted to go to Florence right now, they would have to take elective credits because there are no courses offered toward their major requirements, Bollinger said.

“Ultimately, the more offerings that we have, the wider population of students we can reach,” Bollinger said.

Senior English major Andrew Wyatt said he thinks the main reason why students don’t travel abroad is because their program of study isn’t offered.

The more core classes offered would only give people more reason to study at the Florence campus, he said.

Wyatt, who studied in Florence this past fall, said the location of the campus adds to the appeal of studying there.

“Compared to other schools, because I actually saw the locations of where some other universities that had abroad campuses were, it’s a really good location,” Wyatt said.

Fabrizio Ricciardelli, director of the Kent State Florence program, said the campus is looking at other locations to better accommodate the students with program expansions.

The Florence campus is currently comprised of two buildings, Ricciardelli said.

However, the Board of Trustees approved moving the Florence campus from the two buildings, Palazzo dei Cerchi and Palazzo Bartolini Baldelli, to one building, Palazzo Vettori, at its March 11 meeting.

With possible location transitions and additional programs coming to the Florence program, it’s becoming progressively like a real campus within itself, Ricciardelli said.

“I think that students must meet the chance of being immersed into the dimension of the city,” Ricciardelli said.

Kent State is also considering sending incoming freshman honors students to Florence, Bollinger said. They would go their first semester of their collegiate career within a special cohort.

“This is unusual because usually freshman go directly to whatever campus they’ve applied for and take the classes that are required like their FYE courses,” Bollinger said.

When students have an international mindset, Bollinger said they’re more likely to succeed while they’re pursuing their degrees and have a better understanding of what their majors mean from an international context.

Contact Taylor Meade at [email protected]