July has come and gone and it’s time to take stock of our 2019 Summer Program: four weeks of culture, music, dance, design and many unforgettable experiences for the students from Elon University, Washington University in Saint Louis, BUAP (Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla), UDLAP (Universidad de las Americas Puebla) and Anahuac.
A steadfast characteristic of the AEF Summer Program is the strong emphasis on Performing Arts, in the spirit of our own school philosophy - that students share the fruit of their experiences and their knowledge with others, in a continuous intellectual and cultural exchange with their peers from other countries, with their teachers and with the city of Florence itself.
For this reason, Elon University Professor Lauren Kearns’ Dance Choreography was titled "Dancing with Florence", whereas Florence was an integral part of the choreography and also danced together with the dancers. Lauren chose two Florentine gardens - the Rose Garden and the Orti Dipinti - and created two site-specific choreographies of great impact and beauty.
Professor Polly Cornelius, was inspired by the same spirit, who held her Workshop along with our voice teacher Susanna Rigacci and our Maestro Cristiano Manzoni. Not only did the students share an important educational path, but they had the opportunity to put themselves to the test in two complete works, La Bohème and La Traviata, at Saint Mark’s Church. Other exciting performances were held at Saint James and at Galleria Immaginaria.
The music, however, was not just Opera. Professor William Lenihan of Washington University in St. Louis, returned to visit us with his students: Palazzo Niccolini resounded with notes from his Jazz Improvisation and Musicianship lessons. His students, accompanied by other Italian musicians, experimented, shared, learned and performed in Florence and Pompeii.
For the first time in AEF’s history, we were also joined by a group of Mexican students, who came to Florence with BUAP's Professor of Design Benjamin Zambrano. Their course "Sketches from Italian Life" aimed to capture differences and similarities between Italian and Mexican culture, in full acceptance of a fundamental educational goal of the Study Abroad experience: knowing and opening up to ways of life different from ours. We were able to admire their works in a beautiful exhibition at the Orti Dipinti.
A similar experience, though built through a different means of expression, was the "Travel Photography - Study Abroad Storytelling" course, taught by our teacher Dario Orlandi. Despite being a course that has become a tradition at AEF, it always delivers new emotions: students, guided by their teacher, choose a theme and related images, illustrating both in a personal blog. At the end of the course, they present their work to the other students.
Then there are the Italian lessons - because it is important to know the language to understand the country in which we find ourselves! - the many events, the Jazzit Fest of Pompeii, the visits, the cooking lessons, the laughter and the memories of this 2019 Summer Program, that each of us will hold dear during the upcoming winter. We look forward to seeing you next summer, for a new exciting Summer Program in the name of the Arts!