Prepare for departure on the adventure of a lifetime in Florence with Spring 2022 participant Mackenzie Messineo! 

***This is an example of a student’s experience from Spring 2022. Specific programming and activities are subject to change semester by semester.

Hello, my name is Mackenzie Messineo and I’m from Long Island, New York. I just finished my Verto London semester, which was incredible! I had such a good time, met the best people, and now I am about to start my Florence semester. I chose Verto because it allows me to live the life I’ve always dreamed of. I have the fantastic opportunity to travel the world while also earning college credits. I couldn’t imagine a better first year of college!

With a few days left until I embark on my Florence journey, I have a lot on my mind. Growing up in a big Italian family, I have waited all my life to visit Italy. I am still in shock that this moment is about to happen. I have dreamed of connecting with my Italian roots and learning more about my family’s culture and now I’m getting the chance to do so thanks to Verto! I took six years of Italian and I am looking forward to finally using my language skills and hope to improve my comprehension skills. It has been a while since I practiced my Italian but I know that once I’m immersed in the country, the language will come back quickly. Something that has helped me is watching the show Winx Club, which is an Italian show! 

I am so excited to learn more about the art culture of Florence. One of the top locations to see is the Uffizi Gallery, which hosts some of the world’s finest collections of Italian Renaissance paintings. A painting I admire in the gallery is the Putto Che Suona, which is the translation for Cherub Playing the Lute. I feel such a personal and strong connection towards angelic and Italian renaissance paintings. In these paintings, there is so much to explore and get insight on. Next, I look forward to seeing David Michelangelo in the Accademia Gallery. I feel Florence is one of the art capitals of the world, which is why I am most excited about the art history class I’m taking. Art tells iconic stories, giving better insight into the world. Verto is the perfect mix of learning about the art in class and then witnessing it ourselves.

I am immensely grateful for this experience and I wouldn’t change it for the world! I look forward to seeing what this semester has in store for me. Even though I am nervous leading up to arriving there, I know this will be the opportunity of a lifetime. I am ready for all the personal growth I am about to partake in! When going to a new area, it can be hard to adjust but I have been reminding myself that this new opportunity will help me grow as a person. It takes a lot of courage to be able to pack everything up and start fresh in a new country, and I am eager to see all the positive impacts coming within the months to come. This semester will be the best way to learn more about myself and my family’s culture!