Gabriella Vitulli - 2015 Program Participant

View of Florence, Italy from the top of the Duomos cupola

Top of the Duomo’s cupola in Florence

How did you decide to study abroad?

When I began college I knew that I wanted to study overseas. I knew I wanted to travel and take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad for an entire semester, in order to see as many places as possible and experience new things and cultures.

Why did you choose CAPA International Education?

CAPA offered an amazing program to me and fit my schedule perfectly. I chose CAPA for those reasons as well as the fact that they offered a program in the place I wanted to study in: Florence. I knew I wanted to study in Italy, and after researching all of my options, I decided on CAPA in Florence, which happened to be the best place to call home.

What was your favorite part about Florence?

My favorite part of my home for a semester is a very hard question to ask, but I really fell in love with the culture and history that existed in the country. I know history may sound boring, but living in a city full of the most beautiful, interesting, and enchanting history and art was life changing, and enhanced my experience my an incredibly large margin.

What characteristics of your program made it unique?

The CAPA program's best quality, for me, was their kindness and ability to help. I instantly felt at home at CAPA, and they were incredibly helpful with everything I needed to adjust to life overseas. They provided options to travel, with very helpful and friendly guides, who made everything a fun time.

I could not have felt more comfortable at CAPA, which I think is so important being so far away from home.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

The CAPA staff was there every time I had a question. Whether it was about traveling, studying, or just getting around Florence, I was always able to ask the CAPA staff. I also really enjoyed my teachers and bonded with them very well. They were smart and personable, making class not so bad!

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

One thing I wish I would have done earlier than I did was get comfortable. Instead I waited until I "felt comfortable," but in all honesty, it's almost impossible to. I wish I would have just gotten over the fact of feeling like a tourist and just became a local.

Mountain view of Cinque Terre, Italy

View of our hike in Cinque Terre

Describe a day in the life of an international student in Florence.

A day in the life in Florence...I would wake up in my apartment on Via Della Robbia and get ready for school. I would then begin my walk from Via Della Robbia and walk down Viale Giuseppe Mazzini and stop at my favorite cafe to grab a cappuccino (or an espresso if I was really sleepy). After drinking my coffee at the bar with other Italians, I continued my walk to school and went to class. My classes included Italian cinema, Italian, art history, and more.

After my classes, my friends and I would usually get a panini for lunch, go shopping, or just walk around Florence, and maybe even get some gelato. We would then end the evening normally at our favorite spot in the city: Piazzale Michelangelo. That's where we would watch the sun set over the entire city and end our day, usually with some more gelato!

What was your favorite activity outside the normal day-to-day schedule of your courses?

My favorite activity in my program was the day Stefano and Francesco brought a bunch of us to Cinque Terre for the day. We rode a bus there and had an amazing day! We went on an amazing hike, ate a delicious lunch, and spent some time on the beach. We were able to see all five towns and have a beautiful day by the sea.

What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?

I lived in an apartment with three other girls and loved it! We had a lot of space and a large terrace where we were able to lay in the sun when it was nice out! What I really loved about living in an apartment was all the cooking I was able to do for myself. I was able to go to the market and get the best ingredients for meals, and then make meals for myself and my roommates! It was so fun!

How has studying abroad impacted your life?

Studying abroad gave me a new outlook on life and adventure. I really saw what I was made of when I was abroad, and I was able to come out of my comfort zone to experience so many incredible things. Now that I'm home, I use lessons I have learned while abroad every day and could not be happier that I did it.