In Spring 2018, Dr. Barbara Martin Palmer, Dean of the School of Education and Human Services will be leading the Mount’s study abroad program in Florence, Italy. She recently sat down with the Echo to discuss the upcoming trip.
Q: Will this be your first time in Florence?
A: This will be my second trip to Florence. My husband and I visited in 2014 when Dr. Malone led MSMU’s semester abroad.
Q: Why did you want to teach in Florence?
A: I really enjoyed Florence–its accessibility, its art and architecture, and the beautiful public gardens. It is a perfect venue for the courses I am teaching. In Learning Theory and Human Development we will take advantage of our proximity to Reggio Emilia and Rome to study the theories of Loris Magaguzzi and Maria Montessori. And for Modernity in Literature, Florence, in effect, serves as a major “text” for students as they collect words and images to represent the essence of Florence in the years 1950-present.
Q: Program literature indicates that language study is required. Is that still the case for students who have already completed the core language requirement?
A: It is. Students should enroll in Italian 101 in Fall 2017 and then they will be ready for Italian 102 in Florence. Having facility with Italian contributes to one’s understanding of the culture. Though English is widely spoken in Florence that will not be so in other towns and cities that we visit.
Q: Where will MSMU students live?
A: AIFS locates apartments for students in the historic district, so 3-4 students will share living quarters.
Q: Will students have opportunities to travel?
A: Yes. They have classes Monday through Thursday so that they may travel on weekends. Spring break provides time for extended travel opportunities within Europe. Additionally, there are excursions to Venice and Rome along with day trips to nearby towns included in the fees.
Q: Why are you such an advocate for study abroad?
A: I experienced study abroad as an undergraduate student (Universidad de Valencia in Alicante) and as a parent of two sons who studied abroad. I also led high school trips to Spain and Mexico. There is nothing quite like study abroad to develop independence and to broaden one’s perspectives.
Q: What is special about MSMU’s study abroad in Florence?
A: Through MSMU’s partnership with AIFS students are able to earn MSMU credits for all of the courses offered, even those offered by AIFS; apply their financial aid package, and study with other Mounties. MSMU selected Florence as a site because of the many curricular connections that students can make.