Student Spotlight: Devyn Passaretti

UnknownDevyn Passaretti ’16 is an illustration major from Rhode Island. She spent the Spring 2015 semester enrolled in the studio arts program at the SU Florence Center. She earned credit toward her major by taking studio courses at SU Florence facilities, along with history of art electives and Italian language. She also was able to take part in the all-school field trips that the SU Florence Center arranges each semester. If you’re considering a semester in Florence, check out her thoughts:

What was your most difficult experience abroad, and how did you overcome it?
The most difficult thing for me to overcome while studying abroad was being away from my friends and family for so long. Although I made lots of new friends while in Florence it was the first time that I was not in my comfort zone of being at school or at home. It was interesting to experience a new country with new people. While I was traveling I learned what my own priorities are, along with those of the people I traveled with. Throughout my time abroad I found great people to spend my time with and made older bonds with friends stronger.

What experiences were most helpful to your major?
My entire abroad experience was extremely helpful to my major. I got the opportunity to study fine art in one of the most artistically rich cities in the world. As an illustration major I was able to broaden my scope to fine art practices. By looking at the masters in contrast to contemporary Italian artists I learned a lot about conceptualization. Through this process of study I learned about myself as an artist. My skills of observation and experimentation were greatly improved. Overall the city of Florence and the act of traveling gave me endless inspiration, which broadened my perspective and artistic skills.

How were your living arrangements?
While in Florence I lived with a host family with another Syracuse student. I lived with a host mother, her mother, and their two cats. As soon as we arrived they welcomed us into their home and culture. Every night at the dinner table we would have mini Italian lessons to help with our vocabulary. At the dinner table we would brokenly communicate about our days, where we planned to travel, and laughed about cultural differences. I got used to eating about a pound of pasta as the first course alone. It was beautiful to have a real family environment. They were always so loving and helpful.

Would you like to study abroad again? Where would you want to go?
I would love to be able to study abroad again. It was such an inspiring time period in my life. There’s not a day that goes by that I do not reflect on my time in Florence. That being said I would study in Florence again if I had the choice. The ancient city has so much to offer and I feel as if I only scratched the surface. I’ve also always wanted to study in New Zealand because all of the breathtaking vistas.

If you want to explore Florence and see the things you’ve learned about in history books come to life before your eyes, start your application here! Have questions? Let us know!


Student Spotlight: Lina Cardenas

monkeying+aroundOne of the reason students love London so much is the access to all the world-class museums (with free admission). SU London student Lina Cardenas blogs about her field trips to these museums with her art history class and her musings on the art she sees while she is there. From the Tate Modern, to the National Portrait Gallery, Lina paints a picture of what it means to be an art history student in London.

Furthering her international education, Lina also writes often about sampling the food and fare at high tea at various destinations around London.

All the while, Lina makes time for travel to other cities and visiting important landmarks and monuments.

For a unique view of London and study abroad through the eyes of a student, read Lina’s blog here.


SU Abroad Student Profile- Isaac Messina


What better place is there to study Renaissance art than in the place where it all began? SU Abroad alumnus, Isaac Messina, had a once in a lifetime opportunity to study art restoration while abroad in Florence under an Italian conservator. His incredible apprenticeship was inspired by a course he was able to take while studying in SU’s center in Florence, Italy. Below he describes his work at an art restoration studio,  which was his first hands-on experience with the work of art conservators.

Name: Isaac Messina

Major: Art History

Minor: Chemistry

School: Arts and Sciences

Project/Internship: Art Restoration Apprentice in the Studio of Antonio Casciani in Florence

Description: “My experience abroad in Florence in the spring of my sophomore year introduced me to art restoration, a career that I am now working to pursue. At Syracuse University in Florence, I took a course on Renaissance painting techniques led by Ezio Buzzegoli, a professional art restorer. Intrigued by the career of my professor, I toured a local painting restoration studio during my stay. Antonio Casciani, the lead restorer, worked in beautiful space next to the Boboli Gardens. Antonio specialized in structural conservation, dealing more with the frames, canvases, and the supports of paintings.

A Crown-Wise research grant from the university honors program allowed me to return to Florence in the summer of 2013 to apprentice in Antonio’s private studio. He challenged me to work hands-on with paintings and frames, assuring me that the best learning experience in restoration comes through one’s hands. He often gave me vague instructions, encouraging me to fail, reflect, and then improve. For each project, I documented and assessed the damage the work had suffered over the centuries. I then assisted by filling holes in canvases, reconstructing splintered gilded frames, and treating the surface of paintings. Antonio did not speak a word of English, so this experience challenged me to expand my language skills from table talk with my Italian host family each night to a vocabulary better suited for the specialized field of art conservation. This apprenticeship was an experience I will never forget, as it gave me my first taste of the work of a real conservator.”


SU Abroad Student Profile: Connor Dunne


NAME: Connor Dunne



MAJOR: Spanish Language, Literature and Culture/ Education Studies minor


My most memorable experience abroad was taking my family around Madrid. They came and visited me during Spring Break, and I really loved showing them around the city that I really love. I took them to all my favorite sights, places and restaurants, and I really enjoyed when they came and saw me in Madrid


My favorite class abroad was Business Spanish (SPA 433). The professor, Cristina Perez, is amazing. I feel that I learned a lot in that class, but had fun doing it. The assignments that we did were fun as well, and I really liked my classmates too. It was the class I looked forward to all week.


I loved my living arrangement. My host mom, Ana, was wonderful. She was so nice, as well as her daughter, Ana and her granddaughter, Macarena. Ana was an amazing cook and made the best food. She also sat with my roommate and I for a while at dinner and just talked to us and that was really, really nice. It reminded me of home and I kind of felt like she was my grandma while I was abroad.


My favorite part of the city was by where I lived, near the Principe Pio metro stop. I lived in a less hectic part of the city, right near the Royal Palace and a huge cathedral, which was incredible to see everyday. I also lived right near el Río Manzanares and it was nice to go out for walk and walk down the river and take in the sights with everyone around you. It was also really accessible to rest of the city, so that was a plus.


I loved them! They were all so nice and generous and very, very helpful. There was one professor who I didn’t care for, but the rest of the professors I had, I loved and wish I could take more classes with them.