First Florence Summer Institute proved successful


KSU students pose for photo in Florence, Italy.

Kaitlin Siegel

Kent State University launched its first Florence Summer Institute study abroad program this past June, and it proved to be a massive success.

The study abroad program in Florence, Italy was originally designed to cover the entire semester to allow students to attend school and experience Italian culture. The new summer institute is a shorter program where students can take a maximum of seven credit hours.

“The Office of Global Education created an additional, shorter study abroad program in the summer to give more students a chance to experience Florence,” said Amber Bollinger, an education abroad advisor.  “We thought a summer program would be perfect for students who weren’t ready to go for an entire semester.” 

The program lasted just over four weeks at Kent State University’s flagship school, located in the heart of Florence, Italy. 

Kristin Stasiowski, the director of International Programs and Education Abroad for the College of Arts and Sciences, called the program an outstanding success. “This was an opportunity for a much more diverse student body to experience Florence,” Stasiowski said.  

While the semester-long programs mostly appeal to architecture, fashion and education students, Stasiowski said, “The group of students (this summer) was so wildly representative of the wealth of everything Kent students have to offer.”

When the Florence Summer Institute was created, the department anticipated that only 40 students would apply, but by the end of the year, according to Bollinger, the total number was around 100. 

“We ended up exceeding and surpassing our wildest imaginations of how many students we would have in Florence,” Bollinger said.

Due to the success of the program’s initial attempt, Bollinger doesn’t plan on changing much, but said additonal courses will be added to the program.

New courses projected to be included in the summer 2015 program include four courses from within the College of Arts and Sciences and an additional business course that will allow students a fifth week to be spent in Geneva.  

Isabella Mercurio, a junior exercise science major, was one of the students who participated in the Florence Summer Institute. “When I was there, everything was amazing and beyond what I ever thought Italy could be,” Mercurio said.  

Mercurio felt the one-month program was the perfect amount of time.  “After 15 weeks, I feel like I would be homesick, but one month was enough time, ” Mercurio said.

With the program adding additional courses to include a wider variety of students for the 2015 program, only bigger and better things are to come for the Florence Summer Institute.

Contact Kaitlin Siegel at [email protected].