Study abroad with the Florence EWM Program and learn how to savor the flavor of Italian culture

By Alyssa Cuevas

Italy is known for its rich history, grand architecture, and outstanding art. And delicious pasta and pizza, of course.

Students who want to explore the country’s culture and get a taste of authentic Italian food should consider studying abroad in Florence with Florida State University’s International Programs’ Editing, Writing, and Media Program.

FSU International Programs and the English department are offering the program in the summer of 2022. Courses at the Florence center meet EWM requirements and are designed to immerse students in the Italian culture.

Program co-coordinators English Professor Judith Pascoe and English Associate Lecturer J. Perry Howell are teaching the courses, and they have plans to not only introduce students to the city but also to bring the Italian way of life to their classes.

Pascoe is teaching the cross-listed Article and Essay Technique and Writing and Editing in Print and Online, and Howell is teaching the other two cross-listed classes, What is a Text and History of Text Technologies. Pascoe describes how she will incorporate Italian food into her courses.

“I have the students go out and become experts on particular eating establishments,” she says. The students then lead the other students in the class on field trips to their venues. The writing in the classes centers on these food-related experiences.

For his classes, Howell explains how his students will go to museums.

“We use the city as our textbook,” he says. He adds, “we really try to introduce the students to people that they wouldn’t be able to see in their normal lives.”

Howell and Pascoe describe how they became acquainted with a cookbook writer and a pizza chef, and they plan on organizing class sessions around these experts.

For a lot of students, it’s going to be their first time in Italy, so even quotidian aspects of culture are really interesting.

— Judith Pascoe

The cookbook writer originally trained in the National Library to restore books, Pascoe says, but later became an expert on Florentine cuisine.

“She was really interesting both as an expert on cookbooks and as a person who navigated a new culture and established herself in Florence,” Pascoe recalls.

As for the pizza chef, Howell says the person takes creating pizzas seriously, and Howell compares him to “a pizza genius.”

“We're going to have him come and talk about using pizza as communication and what he's trying to say,” Howell says.

The Florence Study Center has a deep history with the city. The center building is a restored palace and is in the historic downtown area of the city.

The city was flooded in 1966, and the National Library is still working on restoring books that were damaged. Pascoe and Howell hope to take students to visit and view the painstaking process of book restoration.

“Florence is full of just amazing artwork and amazing history,” Pascoe says.

Students who participate in the EWM program also will have opportunities to go on program-led excursions with the other students. Some of these excursions may include trips to Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Venice, and Verona, as well as cooking classes, boat tours, and a ceramic-making activity.

Even routine aspects of culture can be eye-opening for students who study abroad in Florence, says Pascoe, who has taken students to an Italian post office and had them mail postcards home.

“For a lot of students, it’s going to be their first time in Italy, so even quotidian aspects of culture are really interesting,” she says. She also took them to an Italian dollar store to help students learn more about Italian society and culture.

The program runs the first six weeks of the 2022 summer term, May 5 through June 14. Twenty-four students are currently signed up for this program, and applications are available on the International Programs website. FSU International Programs offers scholarships for students, and information regarding those can also be found on the FSU International Programs website.

Alyssa Cuevas is a junior who is majoring in English-Editing, Writing, and Media, with a second major in Communication.

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