Learning about Art Abroad

After studying abroad in Florence, United Way of Long Island DREAMS for Youth Scholarship recipient Marie St-Cyr shares her thoughts on the experience, made possible by an enrichment scholarship. 

What is the educational experience abroad like? How does it compare to that at home?

The educational experience abroad is very different from the one back at my home college. At the Lorenzo De Medici the teachers help us learn about the way we approach art instead of just creating it. The process behind the artwork is more important than the technicality. I feel that I have definitely grown a lot by attending this school. In one semester, I have produced triple the amount of artwork here than I usually do back at FIT. Although the workload is a lot, I am enjoying it. Compared to FIT, here at Lorenzo de Medici, I am given more freedom to pursue what I want to do. The teachers also help guide me in the right direction. For the second half of the semester, all of the students have to work on their own independent project, which I really like because it allows me to pursue something that I am really interested in. The classes here are also very small, only 9 students or less, compared to FIT where there would be 21 students in a painting class. Overall, I have gained quite a bit of knowledge from studying abroad that augments my education at the Fashion Institute of Technology back home. 

Are there other students from the states and other parts of the world involved with the program?

There are about seven other students from my major that are also participating in the program, but overall there are about 300 students from FIT that are involved with the program. There are also many other students from around the world that are involved with the program, mainly from England. 

Have you made new friends and learned anything new about life from being abroad?

I have made a lot of new friends during my stay in Italy. Many of my classmates from FIT that are also involved with the program, I have become close friends with them. I am also happy that I became close with my housemates, especially my roommate Clara, who is also from FIT. While traveling across Europe I have met a lot of amazing people who made me laugh and helped me navigate my way around Europe. I have learned a lot about life from being abroad. It was very interesting to see how friendly and laid back many of the people in Europe were. While on tour in Denmark, a tour guide told us that in that country, many take time out to "relax and make sure that they hurry less as they and work toward satisfaction". I have decided to make my new motto for life. I have learned to be more relaxed and to embrace change! I have definitely grown from being abroad. 

Where you able to visit other countries in Europe?

During Spring Break, my room-mate and I were able to backpack through 14 countries staying at local hostels that charge as little as $10.00 per night. It was great to see not only the artwork but also many points of interest that I had only read about.


Since it's inception in 2002, United Way of Long Island has awarded scholarships and/or grants totaling more than $1,000,000 to deserving students in the area. Marie recieved an enrichment scholarship, which assists with costs associated with activities that enrich the soul, body, heart or inspire creativity. Examples may include music, singing, dance, art lessons; computer graphics training; acting, photography, fashion design; specialized summer camps

If you are interested in applying for a DREAMS for Youth Scholarship, Click Here to Download an Application

Above, a self-portrait of Marie