SRISA Alumni Experiences
My name is Hannah Haakenson and studying at Santa Reparata was truly a life changing experience. I spent the entire 2014-2015 school year there along with a couple months working at the school during the summer of 2015. I was an Art History major at University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee and I absolutely loved learning about the Renaissance in its birthplace. I also enjoyed branching out of my comfort zone in my printmaking and drawing classes. The staff at SRISA is unbelievable, a real family who cares about every one of their students. Some of my favorite experiences while studying there would have to be the trips to Rome, Cinque Terre and Giogalto. There is something so special and magical about traveling to new places with new friends and experiencing everything together for the first time. I left Santa Reparata and graduated from UWM in 2016. I am currently an AmeriCorps member working for a local non-profit organization that serves unaccompanied homeless youth. I am confident that I would not be where I am today without my time studying at SRISA, my fellow students and the staff have made an impact on my life and hold a special place in my heart. I know I will always have a home in Florence, Italy at Santa Reparata International School of Art.
SRISA really made a huge impact on my life, I became a much more confident, enthusiastic and happy person while I was there. I can't thank you all enough for the opportunity to study and work there and for letting me into your hearts!
My name is Allison and I attend Maryville University. I studied at SRISA during the Spring semester of 2017. My experience in Florence was nothing short of phenomenal. Travelling to another continent to study can be very overwhelming, but the staff and professors at SRISA truly make you feel at home from the second you walk onto campus. I am a Cybersecurity student, but I was able to take art, writing, and history classes at SRISA that fulfilled a multitude of credit requirements at my home university. I learned so many new things and even gained a passion for the arts that I never had before. I spent every day knowing that I was really getting the most out of my study abroad experience. I formed lifelong friendships with my fellow students and even with my professors. I reflect on my four months in Italy every single day, and am so incredibly thankful to have had such an amazing time.
With SRISA, I found everything that I was looking for in a study abroad program. I found upper-level art courses, an internship with a local business, language exchange opportunities, and a real passion for Florence. This community is full of kind, helpful people who genuinely care about providing a memorable experience abroad for students. I have formed great friendships with professors and staff members, who have helped me improve my Italian and who have encouraged me to embrace this incredible city. My artistry has thrived from experimenting with various artistic processes in the courses, doing photo walks around the city, and visiting art exhibitions. SRISA has left such a positive impression on me, and I wish for every student to have the same valuable experiences.
In the fall of 2012, I decided to apply to an internship program organized by Santa Reparata International School of Art (SRISA) in Florence, Italy, working as an intern under Italian Jeweler, Frederico Vianello.
The time I spent at Federico’s jewelry studio has been extremely valuable and enjoyable. I gained a new wealth of knowledge regarding many different facets of the Italian jewelry studio system. After speaking with the other students at the SRISA study abroad program, I have come to understand that my internship experience was slightly different and unique. I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet and collaborate with the kindest artist, Federico Vianello, whose knowledge in the Jewelry field has helped guide me throughout my spring semester.
Through my studies, I was able to focus on both the cultural aspect of Italian craftsmanship and the history of jewelry in Italy, often comparing and contrasting these fields with my knowledge of Asian design aesthetic. While I worked closely with Microfficina Principal, Federico studied certain techniques on metal works, and together, we were able to collaborate and develop pieces inspired from both Italian and Oriental culture, basing our designs on a unique use of materials and concept. By applying traditional Oriental skills to metal craft, we have approached a new method with an innovative solution to our pieces of work. I have no doubt that my experience working with him will make a positive contribution to my thesis and work in the future.
I studied abroad here during my last year of university. It's a wonderful school with a caring staff dedicated both to helping students improve their artistic skills and providing their students with the best study experience possible in Florence, Italy. The staff works closely with students to refine their technique, teach them new skills, and prepare them for the end of semester gallery exhibition.
The lessons are designed to build student autonomy as the class becomes familiar with new techniques, but professors are always available at the school to guide students when needed. The building itself is clean and well equipped for multiple disciplines. I had the opportunity to study painting, drawing, Italian language, film photography, digital photography, etching, bookmaking and more while I was there.
I can personally attest to the kindness and professionalism of my instructors at SRISA. During my semester there, my family back in America endured a loss. My teachers were beyond understanding and accommodated me in whatever way they could so that I would not be overwhelmed in my last few weeks at the school. It speaks to the character of the staff that I am still so grateful for them over three years later.
SRISA is in a fantastic location just about 15-20 minutes walk from the main square (the one with Il Duomo that you will see in a lot of tourist photos). Though it's near the square, the immediate area around the school is quieter and has a lot of local flavor. When I was there, it was just 5 minutes from an amazing Italian bakery that made chocolate filled croissants bigger than your hand, 10 minutes from an authentic gelateria with a parade of monthly flavors, and literally, just around the corner from the best sandwich shop I have ever experienced.
SRISA is a relatively small school in a stunning city with an incredible staff, great location, and interesting class options. If you have the opportunity to study there, take it. You won't regret the amazing memories that follow.
It is difficult to express all that studying abroad has done for me; it has changed my life in many ways. Living outside of my comfort zone was scary at first but I was forced to figure things out on my own which I am thankful for. I am thankful because this forced me to gain self-confidence and independence. I feel the experience has opened my eyes to many aspects of life and sparked a curiosity in me. I've discovered a love for art, beauty, and all different forms of expression. This curiosity has inspired me to gain knowledge about many different cultures, history, and politics. The experience has also put my own culture (as well as other cultures) into perspective which has helped me to understand where I come from. This deeper understanding of where I come from has also made it more clear to me what is truly important.
Attending Santa Reparata was one of the best experiences of my life. It was my first time traveling without friends or family, so I was nervous. But once I arrived for orientation, I knew it would be a great semester. The staff is amazingly helpful and genuine. They truly want you to enjoy your time in Florence as much as possible. They can give you advice about anything from directions to dinner recipes.
And of course, the instructors were fantastic. Attending school in Italy was such a different experience than in America. The teachers are much more personal and are more like peers rather than someone with an elevated status. I was lucky enough to take the "Italian Family" course and it remains one of the best and most valuable classes I've ever had. Although I attended SRISA several years ago, when I returned to Florence last summer I made sure to stop by and say hi to all of the great staff. The majority were still at the school and somehow, they remembered me and were so welcoming. I look back on my time at Santa Reparata as some of the most fun and rewarding months of my life. If you are looking for a small school with charm in the heart of Florence, Santa Reparata is a wonderful choice