Director of study abroad in Florence visits KSU

Alison Lucci

Fantoni says taking classes overseas is mind-broadening

Marcello Fantoni was born in rural Italy, so he understands what small-town life is like.

Kent State students have fewer opportunities than metropolitan students to broaden their world view, but Fantoni, director of the Kent in Florence program, said that’s all the more reason to expand.

He said people from small areas like Kent are “more inclined to be affected by the new experience” that studying abroad offers.

“Education is turning empty minds into open minds,” Fantoni said, pulling the phrase from Malcolm Forbes, former publisher of Forbes magazine.

Fantoni spoke to students interested in the Florence program yesterday morning in the Student Center. He outlined the curriculum, housing and travel aspects of the program. He also stressed the significance of the academic and cultural learning opportunities.

Julie Schieferstein, junior fashion merchandising major, spent the fall semester in Florence. She said she enjoyed adapting to the different lifestyle and language.

“I would totally do it again,” she said. “It was something you would never get a chance to do in Kent.”

Kalisha Weeden, freshman physical therapy major, said she plans to study in Florence next fall because going to Italy has always been a “big dream.” Weeden, who attended Fantoni’s presentation, is looking forward to her first out-of-country experience.

Aside from recruitment for existing Florence programs, Fantoni is meeting with administrators from each college to discuss adding programs that will benefit students from more majors.

Right now the Florence program mostly benefits architecture, interior design, fashion and honors students. But the Florence program could soon appeal to history, literature, philosophy, journalism, business, theater and dance students.

“Come to me for advice on how to adjust to Italy,” Fantoni said he tells students studying in Florence. “Don’t come to me asking to adjust Italy to you.”

Contact Honors College and International Affairs reporter Alison Lucci at [email protected].