It feels like winter term has just started, but we are already half-way through and the trip to Florence is just a few weeks away. The ECLA Academy Year core curriculum of the second term is directed toward the Florentine Renaissance in order for students to get the most out of the trip. Meanwhile, intensive preparations for the trip are underway on several levels.
Many things need to be done before we leave: planning the itinerary of museums and architectural sights, arranging accommodation and meals and creating programs and booklets to help the students navigate the city. After a call for help with logistics and formalities, many students responded with great interest. Six teams of students engaged in different kinds of preparations are formed under the supervision of Dirk Deichfuss – trip coordinator, and his assistants – Alissa Burmeister and Yvonne Turaj. An opportunity to bring a personal contribution toward the upcoming trip is the driving force for the student assistants. One of the activities students are engaged in is creating the Florence Handbook, which will contain detailed schedule of the planned tours as well as students’ research entries on the places to be toured. These entries will be useful in Florence when students will give small presentations on the selected works of art or sites. The handbook will serve as a personal guide around the city for students during the trip, also providing information on places to visit besides the tour program.
There is indeed a lot to be seen! Arriving to the airport in Rome students will follow straight to Florence, stopping by in Pienza and Arezzo to see the idealized cities with carefully planned urban composition. The very next day we will be climbing Bruneleschi’s cupola to take an overview of urban structure of Florence. In the middle of the week students will be offered one-day trips to Siena, Perugia, Assisi and Medici villas, before returning to spend a couple of days in Rome. The week will be full of tours, trips and discoveries. It promises to be intensive and includes a wide range of activities.
Geoff Lehman and Aya Soyka – professors actively involved in teaching the core course this term – played a major role in arranging the tours for the Florence trip. For them the city is an old friend and they know almost every part of it by heart. Geoff is very excited about the trip and “looking forward to a great experience, which will acquaint the students with the Renaissance work of art”. Five main tours will be offered to all students, but the majority of tours are offered to smaller groups depending on the personal and academic interests of the participants.
As it is often said, seeing once is better than hearing a hundred times. Our excitement about the upcoming adventure ignites our spirits and motivates our dedication in and outside the classroom.
By Nargiza Majidova (’07, Uzbekistan)