Honors in Florence program to start Spring 2009

Jessie Marks

Beginning in Spring 2009, honors students can complete their coursework and experience “la dolce vita,” or “the good life,” firsthand as they study abroad with the new Honors in Florence program.

The Honors College recently joined efforts with the Office of International Affairs to create a program allowing students to continue their honors coursework while studying under international professors and drawing cultural experience from their surroundings.

“We’re simply joining a well thought-out and thoroughly planned opportunity by the Office of International Affairs,” said Carolyn Sampson, coordinator of the Honors College study abroad program. “I think more parts of the university are looking at this marvelous resource and asking, ‘What can we do there?'”

Honors course offerings in Florence include European Issues, Italian Art from Giotto to Bernini and Individual Honors Work. Students must schedule at least one honors course for the semester and will be required to enroll in an Italian language course. Other coursework is at the student’s discretion.

The honors course offerings contain the same facets and requirements of the honors courses offered stateside. At the semester’s conclusion, honors students write a reaction essay outlining their cultural and academic experience as a whole.

Students who wish to participate in the Honors in Florence program must gain admission to the Honors College, maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 and hold sophomore class standing. The deadline to enroll in the Honors in Florence program for the Spring 2009 semester is Oct. 15.

Aside from basic requirements, Judith Carroll, study abroad program manager with the Office of International Affairs, said the program is open to any student with “a heart to want to see Italy and live in Italy for a while.”

“It’s an opportunity for students to get out and just see the world from a different vantage point – to be a citizen of the world,” Carroll said. “Students often come to see themselves from a different perspective.”

Carroll said many students return from the semester abroad with a sense of independence.

“Once you’ve negotiated a train ticket with all the variables in another language and you come back here, the little things that might annoy you seem like nothing,” Carroll said.

The cost for the semester is $11,995 for Ohio residents and $15,771 for out-of-state students. That price includes tuition, room and board in an apartment, round-trip transportation to Florence, a program fee that helps fund the staff in Florence and all field trip fees. Food and personal travel are at the students’ own expense.

Carroll said some students may see the cost of the semester as a potential drawback.

“The euro against the dollar is making it really difficult,” Carroll said. “Because of that, the cost of the program continues to go up. KSU, in order to operate the program, incurs higher expenses over there.”

Tuition for the Honors in Florence program is billed through the Bursar’s office in the same way regular semester tuition is billed. This means those who borrow student loans can use the loan money to pay for the semester abroad.

Although some scholarships may be used toward the cost, Carroll said not every scholarship can be applied to this tuition. She advised students to consult a financial aid adviser to determine specific scholarship eligibility.

Students enrolled in the

Florence programs study in the 13th century Palazzo dei Cerchi and reside in furnished apartments within walking distance of the Palazzo.

Accompanied by their professors, students travel

through Italy on field trips, including visits to the cities of Venice, Rome and Sienna.

Carroll said the field trips complement the course material by giving students an on-location opportunity to absorb their professors’ insight on Italian cities.

“You can travel all over, and if you’re not with someone who knows what is going on, you may not even know what you’re looking at,” Carroll said. “For a person who is interested in art history and art itself, Florence is an amazing place to be.”

Contact Honors College reporter Jessie Marks at [email protected].