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!


Sustainability Studies in Florence

Ortolani3Syracuse University Abroad’s Florence Center now offers a cluster of courses in sustainability studies.

Students studying at SU Florence will have the opportunity to learn about the challenges of sustainability through a European perspective. Courses highlight ecological thought, historical and current understanding around the world about sustainability in the global business context, and the study of environmental issues.

For the first time in Spring 2016, SU Florence will also offer a sustainability-focused Signature Seminar. Eco-City Europe: New Lifestyles for Old Cities visits several European cities where the changing transportation, food supply, waste cycle, and energy balance demonstrates an alternative urbanism.

Courses offered in the sustainability cluster include:

  • ARC 500.2/GEO 400.2 Sustainable Urbanism in Europe (3 credits)
  • ARC 500.3/GEO 300.3 Eco-City Europe: New Lifestyles for Old Cities (3 credits; Signature Seminar, spring only)
  • EAR 100 Introduction to Geology (3 credits, fall only)
  • EEE 450 Sustainable Enterprise (3 credits, fall only)
  • GEO 380 Environment and Development (3 credits, spring only)
  • IPA 470 Experience Credits: Community Internships (1-3 credits)
  • NSD 452 Mediterranean Food and Culture: A Florence Experience (3 credits)

Students will also have the opportunity to work alongside local students and community members in SU Florence’s Edible Garden project. The garden has been a great success at the center since its inception, used to grow herbs and leaf vegetables and for teaching organic gardening and composting.

For questions regarding the program, contact SU Florence admissions counselor Gael Noyes at or (315) 443- 0252.