Chad Martineau holds up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. (image credit: Chad Martineau)

Chad Martineau, Class of 2017, was able to fit a semester abroad in Florence, Italy into his last year of college. He came back to the U.S. ready to share his experience and offer advice to future Study Abroad students.

Choosing to study at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) this past spring was a sensible decision for Martineau, due to his course options senior year. “SNHU and FUA have the most well put together program in Florence than any other program, which meant even with me being so close to graduation, there were classes I could take.”

While he was there, he participated in the Italian Family Club, which was a club that paired study abroad students with Italian families. “It was very beneficial to do the Italian Family Club,” Martineau said. “I was able to hang out with an Italian family and learn a lot about the culture.”

He recalls staying up late one evening, discussing the similarities and differences between American and Italian politics with the family’s son, Lorenzo Casolis, who became a friend. “Had it not been for the time, that conversation could have lasted hours longer and never gotten boring,” Martineau said.

The highlight of his trip was Spring Break. In less than a week and a half, he traveled to Switzerland, France, Germany and Austria. Some of his adventures included traveling to the top of Mount First in Switzerland, seeing a symphony in Paris, hiking in the Black Forest of Baden-Baden Germany and visiting the Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg, Austria.

Chad Martineau in the Boboli Gardens in Florence, one of his favorite places to go to (image credit: Chad Martineau)

While in Germany, Martineau also recommends visiting an old concentration camp. “I decided to go to the Dachau concentration camp which was an incredibly emotional day for me because you feel the pain of that place the second you see the gates, and pass through it knowing what went on there, and knowing people passed through that gate essentially as a death sentence.”

He advises that people traveling to Europe be familiar with the 24-hour clock and to be cautious of petty theft. “I was pickpocketed in Naples,” Martineau said. “I saw someone get robbed in a club in Florence, and I heard from many of my peers that they met similar fates such as stolen phones and wallets.”

For those who are gearing up to go abroad this fall, Martineau recommends bringing cash in the correct currency, a laptop and peanut butter. “If you don’t want to go three-plus months without it,” he explained. “You won’t be getting any [peanut butter] in Italy, that’s for sure.”

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