Tyler Calkin ’09
Tyler Calkin ’09, a studio art major and English minor, studied at the Studio Art Centers International (SACI) in Florence, Italy
Academically, I gained an incredible amount of knowledge about the art of the Italian High Renaissance – and I was able to apply this understanding practically, as I saw many of the works I studied in person. I also learned the historic art of stone carving. This was actually the most valuable aspect of the program for me; I was able to participate in a cultural and artistic tradition strongly tied to Italy and to Florence. Having the experience of carving stone gives you an incredible new lens through which to view and appreciate the sculpture of both the Renaissance masters, and the artists and artisans working in Italy today.
My experience of integrating into Florence was relatively free of challenges. I attribute this to the care SACI takes in familiarizing students with the city of Florence and Italian culture, as well as the efforts of my housemates and I to explore the city and experience the Italian way of living. There was of course the challenge of trying to take advantage of every opportunity available – there will always be more to do and experience than you will have time for.
I lived in an apartment with five other American students, about a five-minute walk from SACI, a shorter walk from the train station, and around the corner from Santa Maria Novella – a beautiful church in which Michelangelo helped paint his first fresco. We were in three rooms of two people, and we shared two bathrooms. Our apartment was furnished, with a washing machine. We dried our clothes on a line out on our terrace, which overlooked Il Duomo.
My suggestions for future students: Definitely try your best to learn Italian – it shouldn’t be hard with the Italian class SACI offers. Try to speak in Italian at the markets, and practice with your housemates when at home – it will be very helpful, and make your experience that much more memorable.