Community Engagement in Florence

After my typical morning routine of a caffe latte and croissant while reading through my news updates and emails, I had Italian class then ventured outside to do some studying since my Financial Accounting class this week was rescheduled from Tuesday morning to Thursday night since our professor had to attend a conference today. 
As I was doing my textbook readings out by the valley in the sunshine with all the trees and beautiful villas in full view, all I could think was that this still feels surreal, to be able to study abroad in a place as beautiful as this. Although I love Washington Square Park and New York, it just can’t compare to the beauty of the Villa La Pietra estate in Florence with its rustic charm and expanses of nature. 
Around noon, I had an interview for a Community Engagement opportunity with Ars et Fides, which is an organization that coordinates volunteers to give tours of the churches of Florence, emphasizing the art and history behind the significant pieces in each church. The Community Engagement program seemed like a perfect opportunity to get more involved with Florentine culture and also a great chance to practice public speaking and learn more history in preparation for giving tours of beautiful and famous churches like the Duomo. 
Afterwards, I also had my first Italian Politics class which was interesting since we started off by discussing the similarities and differences between American, British, and Italian political systems and what it truly means to be a democracy. Although I’ve never been explicitly interested in politics, I think this will still be a rewarding class since I’ll be better able to understand the Italian political system and it’s at a good time since Italian elections are coming up in spring of next year. 
After all my classes were done for the day, my friends and I attended the Vigil for Peace that was put on in the center of Florence in honor of 9/11. Since NYU Florence helped to coordinate the event, they invited students to partake in it by either singing or reading a poem, and it was a proud moment to see my friend Shreya singing in front of a huge crowd in the center of Florence right next to the famous Uffizi gallery.  

Candles we held up for the Vigil for Peace
The Vigil was followed by an amazing buffet dinner sponsored by NYU that had prosciutto pizza, fried potato croquettes, an abundance of fruit, bruschetta, pasta, and more. Although we had been planning to get gelato after the vigil and after dinner, we were so full that we decided to skip gelato for the night and just go back home to get some homework done. 
NYU knows how to feed us

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