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Happy Coincidence: A Summer Student’s AHA Journey

Date added: Friday 21st December 2012

The Belvedere Torso in the Vatican MuseumOriginally, I was an English student:  I read lots and loved analysing books. Then last Christmas I became absorbed by my a-level art history course and began learning about artists' lives, analysing paintings and studying critics. I was hooked.

I first heard of Art History Abroad through a tutoring agency which sent one of the AHA tutors to my house to guide me through my A Level and show me new ways of viewing art. We spent two whole days engrossed in Art History: pawing over the Impressionists, astounded by the 19th century and shocked by the controversial Dadaists. For me, however, there was something bigger in art history which I wanted to explore and which I was getting more of an inkling of the more I read, even though I was not studying it for my exams:  the Italian Renaissance.

Soon after the AHA tutor left and I immersed myself in exam preparation, I decided to apply for the Northern Italy Three Summer course and was awarded a discretionary scholarship. My main objective was to study the Italian Renaissance. I also wanted to be inspired and stretched before I started my Art History BA at York University.

As it happened, I met one of the Art History Lecturers at York at an open day there later in the Heslington Hall on the campus of York Universitysummer and he, being a veteran AHA tutor himself, was really impressed that I was going on the course. He was even willing to drop my grade boundaries as a result! This really showed me in what esteem these AHA courses are held.

And I was not disappointed. This esteem was justified  throughout the two weeks in Venice, Florence and Rome.  The tutors' knowledge amazed me: walking  around churches and galleries they knew every fine detail - even things I'm sure the artists would have forgotten themselves!  They were also happy to sit, sometimes  for twenty minutes  at a time,  answering my never-ending questions on the architecture and paintings which surrounded me.

And the art I saw on the trip really did blow my mind. It was so exciting seeing works up close, touching-distance away, compared to the glossy pages in a text book.  And of course,  being in such beautiful locations also helped.

Alex's AHA group dressed as gods and goddesses in FlorenceAs a group I think that we all got a taste of Italian culture in the evenings:  from dining in quaint pizzerias,  to experiencing the adventure of Florence's meat houses, to sampling the night life at various night clubs and bars whilst drinking authentic Italian drinks of prosecco and sprtiz aperol.

I would encourage anyone who wants to have an exciting, special summer to take part in an AHA trip: it really is an experience of a lifetime.

Alex was a student on an AHA Summer Course in 2012

 

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