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By: Alisha Lombardi, Gonzaga-in-Florence

Gonzaga-in-Florence is a study abroad experience that engages students to look outside their comfort zone and experience a different culture, and at the same time continues the mission of the home campus here in Spokane.  Academically, a variety of courses offer hands-on learning.  In Florence, Gonzaga maintains a campus offering a core of historical and cultural studies, rich and varied in content, but unified by the experience of Italy, past and present. We also offer courses in arts & humanities, business, engineering and education. While classes are Monday – Thursday, the learning doesn’t end there –its goes beyond the classroom as students interact with locals and the community. Gonzaga-in-Florence offers enriching experiences that will enhance the study abroad program: internships, volunteering, cooking classes, attending the opera, ballet, athletics, and conversation partners.

I started working with the Gonzaga-in-Florence program this past fall.  My first group of students left this week full of excitement, enthusiasm and probably a bit of apprehension and nervousness… which is typical for any student studying abroad for the first (or even fourth!) time. Yet I’m confident sending them abroad to Florence, because of the outstanding support and community that awaits them in Italy.  What began in 1963 as a small program designed to immerse students in the Italian culture, now educates hundreds of students a year, providing an opportunity to learn and live in a city that has played a central role in Italian history and in European civilization itself.  The campus is centrally located in the city, not far from the Duomo Cathedral. The campus is equipped with classroom space, computer lab, library, study space and fitness area.  The full time staff is available to assist students with adjusting to life in Florence and helping them make the most of their time abroad.

It’s quite exciting to have the opportunity to work with a program like Gonzaga-in-Florence.  Being new to Gonzaga, I feel like I’ve only gotten my feet wet, so to speak, with all that is FLORENCE: the history, traditions, and legacies.

With Gonzaga-in-Florence, students can expand their global perspective and challenge themselves with other Zags.  While I’ve only been here a little while, I already know the Gonzaga-in-Florence experience is one that students will never forget and cherish for a lifetime.

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