CISABROAD BLOG · February 6, 2019 · 4 Min Read
Fashion and Photography Abroad | Student Blog from Florence
Guest Author: Rachel Zuckerberg, Semester in Florence - Florence University of the Arts, Fall 2018, Columbia College Chicago

My name is Rachel Zuckerberg and I’m a junior fashion business major at Columbia College Chicago. I love all things fashion, photography, writing, and traveling. I knew for years that I wanted to study abroad in Florence, Italy, so I’m forever thankful for the CISabroad Semester in Florence program!


What drew me to the Semester in Florence program most was that it’s affiliated with an art school called Florence University of the Arts (FUA). A top priority for me when I was searching for study abroad programs was that I remained at an art school or went to a school that had a strong fashion program. I wanted to gain a new perspective on studying fashion and photography abroad while fulfilling my major and passions. Once there, I fell in love with the school, and FUA really was one of my favorite things about study abroad.

Yes, you actually do have to study while studying abroad (shocker, I know).

Studying Fashion and Photography Abroad

@ Florence University of the Arts

One of my favorite things about FUA is how much of it is actually run by the students. Culinary and hospitality students run the school’s restaurant and pastry shop. Fashion students run the vintage store and fashion events. Digital imaging students create advertisements for school events. Journalism students produce magazines and newsletters for the school. Even the school’s even art exhibitions are organized by students.

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Everyone is contributing to the school in some way, which makes for great resume and portfolio builders! There is such a creative energy at FUA that just isn’t felt at other schools. Some state school students have even told me that they wish they normally went to an art school for that very reason.

New City, New Perspectives

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Even though I’m used to art school life, being in a new city and at a new school brought out so much creative energy and inspiration that I couldn’t have experienced if I stayed comfortably at my home university.

Being in a new city gives you new perspectives on life and of the world by being immersed in a new culture. Florence has a very creative and artistic feel. Everywhere you look can be a source of creative inspiration. The architecture, the museums, the history, and more, causes you to think in a different way that makes you want to try new things and experiment creatively.

My Florentine Obsession: Photography

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I explored photography a lot more that I expected while abroad. With so many new places I was seeing, each being more beautiful than the next, I found myself not being able to put my camera down. I took it everywhere, and took photos of everything. I wanted to capture it all and more. Sometimes I would even get frustrated because no picture I took could capture just how beautiful some of these places truly are.

My fashion photography class at FUA was my first photography class since high school, and it ended up becoming my life. I felt a passion for photography that I had never felt so strongly before. My professor was incredible and made me want turn in my best work every time.

By the end of the semester, I had done a photoshoot for two fashion designers’ new collections. My photos from both of them were published in my school’s magazine and newsletter called BLENDING, which is an actual licensed magazine in Italy.

I also experimented with self-portrait photography, which is something I never wanted to do before. Two of those photos were selected to be in my school’s final art exhibition called “Rare and Universal: Leonardo’s Humanism” (shown in this photo). I was so surprised by how much my photography improved in just a short amount of time, and I have FUA and being abroad, in general, to thank for that.

Why you should study abroad in Florence

You don’t have to be the next Leonardo da Vinci to go to an art school. If you want to learn in a creative and hands-on way, collaborate with like-minded people, and really test your skills, then studying at FUA in Florence might be for you! There are so many different fields you can study, and there’s nothing like gaining a new perspective not only on the world, but also in your career.

Study abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity full of eye-opening experiences, and it’s a time in your life to not miss out on. Take this time to go to a new country, study something new, and meet new people, even if you’re scared about it. Being scared is okay, but don’t let it stop you from seeing the world. Go outside of your comfort zone, because it’s a whole different world there – quite literally.


Florence calling your name? Learn more about how you can study fashion and photography abroad (and much more!) on the Semester in Florence and the Summer in Florence programs at FUA. Ciao!

The CISabroad blog is run by Zoë Crabtree, Jenn Weisgerber, Siobhan Tripp, Emily Negard, and more folks on our marketing team. Head over to the “Meet the Team” page to learn more about us as individuals. On the blog, we share student-written content and information for students, advisors, other study abroad professionals, and families of students studying abroad. Check out our Facebook and Instagram for more from us and our students!