by Sara M. Simons
Last fall, I spent the semester in Florence on a fellowship through the NYU Provost’s Global Research Initiative. It was an amazing opportunity to work on my dissertation topic review at the gorgeous NYU Florence campus. The fellowship covered my travel costs as well as a living stipend, and I was given access to office space in one of the NYU Florence villas. I worked there with an Italian Studies doctoral student, and we decorated our office with rock and roll posters and occasionally went out for a bistecca fiorentina after work. I attended several events held on the NYU Florence campus, including a fabulous symposium about the future of U.S. politics featuring several famous political pundits, and a talk by legendary writer Pete Hamill.
Although I missed my Educational Theatre students, I got updates from several of them over email, which always brightened my day. I was able to keep in touch with the faculty over email as well, and when the time came for me to present my topic review to doctoral Collegium, I was able to do so over Skype—at midnight Florence time!
I had never been to Italy before, and I took advantage of my fellowship to travel around the country. Although I stuck to a fairly studious routine during the week, I took several weekend trips to beautiful locales—notably Perugia, Venice, Sicily, Capri, and Paris! And of course the food was amazing! I would recommend that any doctoral students interested in writing from a new locale check out the Provost’s Global Research Initiative—there are now fellowships available in Florence, Berlin, Shanghai, London, Sydney, and Washington DC!
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