Susan Gallagher

Susan Gallagher in Florence

Ciao tutti! My name is Susan, and I am writing to share my recent study abroad experience with you all.  I am a second year nursing student who was awarded scholarship to study in Florence, Italy over the winter break. I was the only Canberran participant which is why I am especially excited to share my experiences of study, living, art, beauty, food, wine and culture.

My class was a mix of national ACU and American students who studied contemporary moral problems four days a week, taught by an American Jesuit Priest, Father Hannafey. The class was exposed to a variety of worldly issues and we were encouraged to voice our opinion regularly. Father Hannafey was open-minded and successfully taught us new ways of thinking. In particular, he enabled me to think in a three-phase train of thought; considering the justice of the intention, the means and the ends of an act. In class, we had many heated discussions; considered justice, the morality of ethical issues, and also deeply examined how beauty affects our lives.  As a class we also frequently discussed what we were noticing in Florentine culture and how we felt about it. 

Florence is such a beautiful city. It has amazing shopping, delicious food, divine and affordable local wines, phenomenal architecture and art.  The city is kept clean, packed with tourists, filled with stairs to keep everyone fit and is constantly bursting with people showcasing love and affection.  

The study abroad program provided free meal vouchers, allowed students to have accommodation in the heart of city, and exposure to authentic Italian cooking, people, and gelaterias. As a group we also explored fascinating art and history by visiting galleries, chapels and close-by towns and cities. All students undertook volunteer service with the Miserecordia, patient transport of Florence, which allowed us to participate in a rewarding experience with a variety of Italian health professionals and volunteers. Students had the weekends free to travel to nearby destinations or explore the many activities that the Tuscan region of Italy has to offer. 

Living in Florence enhanced my learning through exposure to all of this by taking me completely out of my comfort zone, opening my mind and enchanting me with Italian culture. 

I would like to thank ACU for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and hope that sharing a small part of my experience will encourage future ACU students to apply! 

Susan Gallagher
Bachelor of Nursing