Spring 2017 - Greetings from HUF Newsletter

We have had a busy past couple weeks here at HUF! Students have already been on their first independent travel, they went to places all over Europe: Hungary, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland were all visited by our students. 

The students had a full day on Saturday with a visit to the Pitti Palace, Brancacci Chapel and the Uffizi Gallery - all a part of the group on-site class experiences we participate in as a part of the HUF program.

We had a great visit to the Bay of Naples area last week and we will be departing for a trip to Sicily tomorrow. 

Be the Difference

On March 2nd, we joined students from Kent State University and participated in a service at the Florence American WWII Cemetery to honor those buried there. This visit is apart of a larger project called "Be the Difference - Never Again." This is a semester long project where each student is given the name of a soldier buried in the Florence American Cemetery and are asked to research that person in order to find more information about the individual. Oftentimes, students find far more information about their soldier than they expected. The visit to the cemetery is the pinnacle moment of the project: each student visits and places a flower on the grave of the soldier to which they have been assigned. More information about the "Be the Difference - Never Again" can be found here

Meeting David

Last week we had an on-site class at the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence and finally got to meet Michelangelo's masterpiece, the David. Much of what we do in our on-site class experiences follows (often, quite literally) in the footsteps of the great Florentine Renaissance masters such as Michelangelo. Taking three years to finish, the 17 foot, seven-ton colossal statue of the Biblical hero, David by Michelangelo is considered to be at the pinnacle of sculpture in marble. Carved out of a single block of stone, the statue was at the time of it's completion, in 1504, thought to be a miracle. Michelangelo's contemporary, Georgio Vasari, wrote in his famous Lives of the Artists that the David has become greater than "all ancient and modern statues, whether Greek or Latin, that have ever existed ... certainly a miracle that of Michelangelo, to restore to life one who was dead."

Last week we spent four days in and around the Bay of Naples as a part of our Southern Italy trip. The first two days we visited the ancient Roman city of Pompeii and had a free day to explore the Amalfi Coast while staying in the beautiful town of Sorrento. After that we visited the village of Campagna as a part of our participation in the "Be the Difference - Never Again" project. Campagna is the sight of a Jewish internment camp from WWII what was housed in a former convent. After our time there we moved to the coastal town of Paestum and spent the afternoon in the ancient Greco-Roman city. We were able to enjoy a beautiful sunset on the beach together that evening.

Sometimes the visiting faculty to HUF have families and children who also get to experience all the program has to offer. Oftentimes the kids are learning just as much as the students. This semester we have Liz and Rachel as a part of our group. Below are their reflections from our time in southern Italy.

From Liz:

I will always remember my experiences in southern Italy. I learned so much and loved every minute of it. Those four days taught me more than any classroom could. The beauty and history from that area is almost so overwhelming, it’s hard to digest it all. However, at the same time, I never stopped drinking it in.

Learning about the ancient Roman Empire while standing in Pompeii or Paestum is an amazing way to learn. I was able to use all of my senses: from touching ancient temples, to seeing the Roman roads, to running through a gladiator’s arena, it all allowed me to better understand the places and people that I’ve been learning about. On-site classes are a new experience for me and I have loved all of it.

Not only are the history of these places interesting, but their culture and people today are so different and beautiful. For me, seeing beaches, mountains, volcanoes, lemon and olive trees, it is all different and exciting. Walking down streets with fresh produce, clothing and other goods makes me feel like I’m in some sort of fantasy. I have loved seeing all the museums that always open up another door for me to look into.

The trip to southern Italy taught me so much but it was also so much fun. I hope I can go back again someday.

From Rachel:

Southern Italy was a very fabulous trip. I thought it was fun and well planned. Although rainy at times, the sights were breathtaking. Pompeii was beautiful, my favorite site in Pompeii was The House of the Satyr. When we were driving to the the hotel the views were so cool. My family, Robbie, and Grant went to the Amalfi coast on the free day, it was so beautiful! The coast was my favorite part. The last hotel we stayed in was my personal favorite, it was right by the ocean. The sunset was so beautiful but the water was very cold, some of the students actually jumped in the water, but I just put my feet in. Some of the students, my mom, my sister, and I went to see the water buffalo farm. Surprisingly, the buffalo were really funny and sweet. Then we ate some water buffalo mozzarella cheese, some of us liked it but it was too juicy for me. I was really sad to leave southern Italy. Three days were definitely not enough. I would really like to return to southern Italy someday and spend more time exploring all there is to offer.

Final Shot

A time of worship is a part of every day in the HUF program. Last night we worshiped together with song in the cellar of the Villa. The walls of the cellar are painted with murals done by past HUFgroups dating back to the early 1990's. 

A time of worship is a part of every day in the HUF program. Last night we worshiped together with song in the cellar of the Villa. The walls of the cellar are painted with murals done by past HUFgroups dating back to the early 1990's. 

Posted on March 13, 2017 .