EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING AT FUA
FUA is the first academic institution in Italy to establish integration projects affiliated to its academic departments and open to the public, in the form of Community Engagement Member Institutions (CEMI) under the auspices of the Palazzi Foundation. The CEMI are:
- Ganzo School Restaurant and Fedora School Pastry Shop (APICIUS)
- Corridoio Fiorentino photography and design gallery (DIVA/IDEAS)
- FLY Fashion Loves You emerging designers, vintage, and consignment store (FAST)
- Greenmapped Service Learning (ISB)
- Ingorda campus press (J SCHOOL)
- F_AIR Florence Artist in Residence (SAS)
- CCIS Center for Cultural and Italian Studies (SQUOLA)
In addition to the CEMI, the institution is affiliated with a wide network of professional entities and community-oriented organizations engaged in FUA's experiential learning initiatives.
FUA's mission statement and implementation regarding experiential learning opportunities in Florence, Italy, are founded upon the following principles:
What is experiential learning?
FUA fosters and develops Experiential Learning intended as:
- The proactive union between learning in academic environments and experiencing in close contact with the local population and territory.
- The enhancement of knowledge by doing to gain competency in a rapidly shifting and globally connected world.
- Learning hours that are fully supervised by instructors who track students step by step during their learning experience, monitor and advise according to student needs, and support student initiative.
Integration and engagement – local territory, community, culture
Experiential learning at FUA aims to create a reciprocal exchange of culture, competency, and knowledge between students and external organizations for a mutually beneficial outcome.
- Outreach and collaboration with the community increase awareness and expand an engaged knowledge of the local territory.
- Experiential learning is an active and lasting contribution, and therefore integration, of international student perspectives to the local culture and vice versa.
A unique learning model
Experiential learning at FUA is a unique learning model that allows students to benefit from an all-encompassing educational experience based on theory and practice in real enterprises, learning of comprehensive operational processes, problem-solving, leadership, and management.
- Experiential learning at FUA rethinks the concepts of the classroom and field experiences as related rather than distinct environments.
- The classroom is an on-going environment that extends beyond the physical spaces of lecture halls and laboratories, classroom learning is applied to the outer world.
- Field experiences must be rooted in academic contexts and give back to classroom learning a wider perspective of taught knowledge.
Mentoring and guidance in Experiential Learning
Each experiential learning context implemented by FUA is carefully monitored by faculty members coordinated by the Dean of Students and Academic Office.
- In all cases, experiential learning is not an independent program of study but assigned to a supervising mentor/faculty member who guides the student.
- Hours, locations, and content are always registered and analyzed for academic performance and responsiveness to real situations.
- The mentor acts as the liaison between the student, the experiential context, involved external entities, and the academic institution.
Experiential Learning Opportunities at FUA
Experiential Learning Course: Students receive academic education following the instructor's guidance and expertise.
Experiential Learning Project: Student learn by doing and observing the assigned tasks WHILE also receiving academic instruction. Includes Learn and Serve course offerings.
Internship: Students actively assist professionals in fulfilling daily tasks. Students do not receive traditional classroom instruction but learn by performing tasks. For non-credit options see note below.
Community Service and Volunteer Projects: Integrated to academic coursework, for non-credit options see note below.
Please note: The following opportunities are offered on a non-credit basis and considered separate from the for-credit academic options listed above.
- Non-credit internships combine a mandatory 3-week Italian language session with an internship experience. Students can select the number of weeks for the internship length.
- Learn and Serve Experiential Learning Projects can be taken on a non-credit basis.
- Community outreach is offered by the Student Life and Development Department of FUA as an extracurricular activity.
For further details regarding FUA experiential learning options please consult the related page under Perspective Students.