Katherine Dick is a 20-year-old vocal performance major from Baker University in Kansas. She is currently studying abroad in Florence for four months and taking a total of five classes around the city. It has always been her dream to come to Italy because of the music technique and also because of her Italian heritage. Her classes for this semester include the following: Italian, cooking, Pompeii culture, and two music courses. ISTITUTO EUROPEO (a music, culture, language, art school) is where Katherine takes her two music classes, Singers Diction 1 and Vocal Coaching. Below is a brief interview detailing her experience so far.
“It has always been my dream to come to Italy”
Q1: Tell us about your program? How did you find it?
A1: I found FUA on my own and proposed it to my university for approval and made sure I could receive credit for the classes I am taking here. FUA representatives set up my schedule, and my classes are in different buildings all over Florence. For example I attend Istituto Europeo, but only for my music classes.
Q2: How was adjusting to the Italian culture?
A2: It was like climbing up and down a valley of emotions. When I first got here I was so excited and everything was great, but then the culture shock set in and I realized how much the language barrier impacted my mood. Then I got to know a few people and became comfortable with the city, but then I still felt hostility from the citizens here. Basically it was hard to adjust to the culture the first month, but all in all I feel like it would be that way in any country and the experience will be what I make it.
Q3: How are your music classes at ISTITUTO EUROPEO?
A3: In the beginning it was frustrating because it was hard to understand the techniques with the language barrier separating me from my professor, but after a few classes a light bulb just went off. We managed to get past the fact I did not fully understand Italian, so in order to sing the lyrics correctly we practiced the pronunciation of words. Because of these classes I feel like I have experienced “vocal epiphanies” regularly instead of just once and a while. Training your voice takes time and patience, especially when it comes to opera and classical music.
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