Gilbert Jones Recommends Italian Study Abroad Program

dsc01318A third floor, four room walk-up in a 13th century building with no elevator or air conditioning on a record-breaking, sweltering hot day was Gilbert Jones’s, art history major, introduction to Florence, Italy, and Richmond American International University in London – the Florence program.dsc045655 Jones chose to stay with a family. His hostess was an 85 year-old woman named Tosca who had lived in the building since the seventies and had been sponsoring students from abroad for the last 25 years and spoke only Italian. As a result Jones improved his Italian and the two became more like family. In fact, he commented, “I was expected to attend all her family events like birthdays and graduation. It was amazing!” Studying abroad enables students to experience their academic studies in a totally different environment while soaking up the local customs, culture, and cuisine, which Jones did!duccio_maesta4 He explained that he experienced that “movie moment” of having seen something in print. Then, for the first time, seeing the real thing as he turned the corner to that spectacular cathedral sight just as the bells were ringing. He found this to be true when observing the “real thing” in all the places he visited—Venice, Rome, Florence, Paris, and especially in Siena at the Siena Cathedral where he got to see his favorite artist’s, Duccio di Buonsegna, altarpiece. “It was breath taking!” said Jones. Three weeks on the coast of the Mediterranean swimming daily, with parties on the beach nightly, making friends for life, and various side trips like the one to London and another to Paris. While in Paris, “my new friends and I rushed through the Louvre in four hours and did all the touristy things like the Eiffel Tower. We decided to spend Halloween drinking champagne at the Moulin Rouge. I was fun, but I wished it had still looked like the Toulouse-Lautrec painting though.” dsc032931 Jones is an undergraduate working on his BA in Art History with a minor in Italian. He is grateful to TTU who made this a reality for him by making funding and grants available, which enable students like Jones to study abroad. He continues to work on his thesis, which concerns Medieval Italian art. Jones will present a program soon detailing his studies in Italy. He took hundreds of photos of the amazing sights.

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