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Championing Champe Fitzhugh

Before applying to the Memorial Student Center's Champe Fitzhugh Jr. International Honors Leadership Seminar, I never envisioned studying abroad as part of my experience at Texas A&M University. It wasn’t until I heard about the trip during a scholarship interview that I rethought my plans. I love challenging my comfort zone, and spending part of my summer with 40 strangers in a place so different than my home in Austin, Texas, presented the perfect opportunity. I’d never been to Europe, and I could hardly wait as I counted down days to the trip.

View photos from the trip, courtesy of Mark Garwood '20:

  • Piazza del Municipio, Castiglion Fiorentino

    For breakfast each morning, students ate pastries and sipped cappuccinos while overlooking this beautiful view of the valley.
  • Porta Fiorentina, Castiglion Fiorentino

    Every evening, students went on a daily gelato run. This is the view from the city walls right outside of the students’ favorite gelateria.
  • Santa Chiara, Castiglion Fiorentino

    The view from the Santa Chiara Study Center provided a beautiful, expansive glimpse of the sun rising in an array of colors over the mountains.
  • The Duomo, Florence

    The Duomo rises above the streets of Florence, dominating the city skyline as a symbol of Italian architecture. Students had a chance to climb to the top of the dome or the nearby bell tower for an expansive view of the city, dubbed “The Birthplace of the Renaissance”.
  • Arezzo

    Students visited the nearby town of Arezzo on a day trip and enjoyed the city's views, fascinating history and fantastic music.
  • Spanish Steps, Rome

    Rome’s maze of streets and bustling atmosphere provided a vast contrast to the countryside. Students visited the Spanish Steps, an expansive outdoor staircase nearly three centuries old that serves as the site for many movies and books.
  • Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

    The Basilica di San Pietro, or St. Peter’s Basilica, sits in the middle of the Vatican City, the heart of the Catholic Church. For students on the trip, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, visiting this cultural and architectural phenomenon was an unforgettable experience.
  • Rialto Bridge, Venice

    Literally built on top of water, Venice is known for its canals and seafood markets, which are filled with fresh fish caught daily. Students enjoyed crossing this iconic bridge, the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal, on their way to the market for a delicious calamari lunch.
  • Gondolas at St. Mark’s Square, Venice

    Visiting Venice was a new experience for most students on the trip, and no trip to Venice is complete without a ride in the famous gondolas, the unique boats that are icons of this city.
  • The Bridge of Sighs, Venice

    The Bridge of Sighs connected the Venetian Doge's Palace to the prison next door. Students toured both the palace and the prison, and crossed the bridge where notorious prisoners were forced to walk hundreds of years before.
  • Sestier Santa Croce, Venice

    The beauty of Venice is not found solely in one building or one square, but in each nook and cranny of the canals that wind through the city. Students were encouraged to “get lost in Venice,” in order to truly experience a place where colorful buildings, canals and boats are at every turn.
  • Campanile, Venice

    Towering above the Grand Canal of Venice stands the Campanile in St. Mark’s Square, which offered sweeping views of the city. At night, students added their own Texas twist to the city by swing dancing and two-stepping to the music of the street artists.