Community Engagement at NYU Florence
NYU Florence offers students the option to integrate an experiential learning opportunity and become an active participant in the Florentine community through various off campus volunteer activities. Placements vary based upon the student’s availability, academic interests and language skill level.
Students can participate in Community Engagement in two ways:
- You can choose a short-term, large-scale, single day event.
- You can choose a sustained weekly interaction with a local school, or nonprofit association.
Some students choose to do both! The experience is well worth it!.
Single Day Service Options
Florence’s annual 5k walk/15k run to cure breast cancer started in 2003 to raise funds and awareness of breast cancer, with the collaboration of the Italian Cancer Association – Florence. Every year, tens of thousands of Florentines raise money for breast cancer research and patient assistance. It's easy to participate in this fun event!The proceeds are divided between projects and the main portion of donations goes to the Public Health Department of Florence for breast cancer patients. Be a part of an NYU Florence tradition and join our community for this important cause!
A community engagement initiative that aims to get American and Italian students together through a joint project of cleaning up a small portion of the Parco delle Cascine (Florence’s “Central Park”).
This project (one single morning) would be directly managed by NYU Florence, the Angeli del Bello Foundation and the Scuola di Agraria of the University of Florence in collaboration with the Comune di Firenze.
A snack would be organized at the end of the working morning to allow for the American and Italian students to have time to speak together and get to know each other.
Weekly English Language Service Options
NYU in Florence offers placements in local elementary, middle, and high-schools. Students work closely with the English language instructors to improve (Italian) students’ comprehension, writing, and speaking skills. Students are often asked to create lesson plans, and lead class discussions. As native speakers of English, NYU in Florence students are a valuable resource in the language classroom!
Ars et Fides is a Catholic organization (created by the archdiocese in Florence) that invites student volunteers to learn to be tour guides in 5 of the major churches in Florence. The churches include: Duomo, Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, San Lorenzo and Santa Trinita. Students receive a packet of information about the church they are interested in, and are scheduled to follow a more experienced guide. Once they are comfortable enough on their own, they start giving their own tours.N.B. Students are invited to give tours in any languages they speak. If you speak a language other than English, you can use it for tours.Schedule: students may give tours from 10am to 12pm or from 3pm to 5pm, Monday through Saturday. Minimum commitment is 1 two-hour blocks per week.
A.N.I.M.A. is a place where children can do gymnastic activities under the supervision of qualified instructors. At the ANIMA center, children with and without disabilities do exercises and play together, thus conquering their insecurities and learning to trust other people. The NYU Florence student volunteers play with the children in order to establish a friendly relationship with them.The activities take place in the afternoons from Tuesday to Friday, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The student volunteer needs to select a day when he/she can perform this activity. Only two to three volunteers per day are accepted.
An urban volunteer project for the care and decorum of the city of Florence, the Angeli del Bello volunteers care for the green areas in the city, clean graffiti off the walls, and give support to those who take care of our public spaces. NYU Florence does a lot to help in the community and the current project is tidying up the close-by Stibbert Park on Monday afternoons, Thursday and Saturday mornings.
AICS Florence (Italian Culture and Sport Association) organizes cultural and social activities with particular focus on the elderly. AICS Florence is located in Piazza delle Cure, a popular neighborhood near NYU Florence that can be reached easily on foot from campus. NYU Florence students can use their English language skills to assist the English teachers. AICS courses are held in the afternoons at around 3pm and the groups are small: 5/10 people max.
Weekly Italian Language Service Options
Companionship and interaction with others are what all of us, and especially children, need in troubled times or when we have difficulties.The guests in the Casa Famiglia San Paolino (near the main train station of Florence) all have histories of poverty and other difficulties. The mothers of the children who stay there are struggling economically or have been victims of domestic violence.
Some of the possible activities for student volunteers are:
- Providing companionship for children by playing with them
- Creating music together with the children
- Teaching and practicing dance
- Engaging children in art activities
The activities take place in the afternoons from Monday to Wednesday, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. The student volunteer needs to select a day when he/she can perform this activity and then maintain this schedule consistently throughout the semester. Only two to three volunteers per day are accepted. A moderate knowledge of Italian is required.
The Sant’Agostino project deals with immigrant and Italian women in precarious situations and/or victims of domestic violence, with the aim of helping them become once again autonomous.
This option offers activities with young children and their mothers in the afternoons. NYU Florence students (women preferred) can assist children of 7-9 years of age after school. The volunteer activity can consist of games and playtime, but also may include help with homework. Estimated number of minimum hours per week: 2 hours 1 day a week. A basic knowledge of the Italian language is required.
The Meeting Point Firenze Studenti association helps Italian middle and high school students with their homework. The sessions are in the afternoons, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3:30pm to 6:30pm in Borgo Pinti 64 downtown Florence.
This help isn’t about teaching to a class, but rather assisting students with the study of the English language. Volunteers help small groups of 2 or three students with their homework and with explaining particular subjects. Estimated number of minimum hours per week: 2 hours 1 day a week. A basic knowledge of the Italian language is required.
The Misericordia of Florence is a Catholic volunteer association that dates back to the Middle Ages and since its inception it has been housed right in Piazza del Duomo. With its centuries old tradition, it has grown to be a very modern and efficient organization staffed by both employees and volunteers who provide medical care, social services and various types of assistance to the local population and visitors of Florence. The Misericordia is considered to be the oldest existing private volunteer association that has been operating since 1244 AD.
- The Museum of the Misericordia of Florence is located inside its historical headquarters in Piazza del Duomo. The rooms of the museum house objects and artworks from the past seven centuries of the Misericordia’s activity. NYU Florence students can volunteer once or twice per week (2 hours per day), helping the Museum staff and also offering free guided tours in English to visitors.
- Choir of the Misericordia: is made up of about 20 volunteers who sing for religious functions. The concerts are held in the Oratorium of the Misericordia in Piazza Duomo. Meeting days and times will be announced during orientation.
A basic knowledge of the Italian language is required for both activities.
The parish is the closest Catholic church to our campus and it organizes numerous activities for children of the neighborhood of NYU Florence. It is a very important point of reference for all of the area’s residents.Storytelling or singing group in English in the afternoons. NYU Florence students can propose and organize recreational activities for children from the parish. Estimated number of minimum hours per week: 2 hours 1 day a week. A basic knowledge of the Italian language is required.
These are a sample of our Community Engagement offerings. We are updating our lists each semester. If you are interested in learning more about Community Engagement please contact The Study Away Admissions Office.