New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

Beyond The Classroom

Jessica and her students, NYU in Florence student
I volunteered at a school where I taught 5 year-olds basic English. I fell in love with these kids. They were adorable and grew to love me in return. I learned so much from them. - Jessica, NYU Florence student

Community Service

NYU Florence offers a course specifically geared towards helping students  find volunteering opportunities in Florence. The course is taught both in Italian and English; if taken in Italian, it also counts as your required Italian language course. The class only meets once a week, but the student must complete 50 hours of community service before the end of the semester. The class itself focuses initially on the differences between Italy and America. Then students work with the instructor to find a community service organization that suits their needs. Plus anyone who wants to volunteer on their own can also find opportunities. Here are some examples of community service opportunities available at NYU Florence:

  • Teaching Italian high school students about American culture, while also greatly improving their English language skills.
  • Hosting tours at some of Florence’s most important churches, museums and historic sites -- there are opportunities to do guide tours in English or Italian!
  • Helping to prepare and cook weekly dinners where any international student is asked to come; this is an opportunity to meet lots of students from around the world.
  • Selling Candygrams for the Italian Cancer Society; one semester, students raised over 200 Euros!
  • Helping in the production and performances of Italian plays at a well-known Italian theater.

These are just a few of the ways to get involved. Even if you participate in a few one-day volunteer opportunities, the experience is well worth it.

English Language Service Options

NYU in Florence offers placements in local kindergartens, 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 block a week.

Italian Language Service Options

Auser is a completely volunteer organization dedicated to helping the elderly. Students can help by going to do grocery shopping and delivering it to the homes of elderly people who have requested the service. They can also be sent to visit with elderly people in their homes, and accompany them on short errands in their neighborhoods.Schedule: Grocery shopping & delivery: Monday – Thursday mornings (8am – 12pm), visiting with the elderly: Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

Course Related Field Trips

To complement the curriculum, many professors organize local site visits as well as out-of-town field trips. These activities are mandatory and appear on each professor's syllabus. Most art history classes include visits to churches, museums, and villas in Florence and Italian cities to view artwork in context. Local museums are an integral part of many classes, and past visits have included the Uffizi Gallery, the Bargello Museum, l'Accademia, San Marco Museum, and the Medici Chapels. Recent trips outside of Florence have included visits to the Vatican museum and Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome and a viewing of Leonardo's Last Supper in Milan. The Etruscans class regularly visits the archeological museum in Bologna and stops at nearby ancient ruins; the Italian opera course supplemented in-class discussions by attending a performance of Puccini at Verona's opera house; or a backstage tour of La Pergola, the opera house in Florence. Students often opt to take advantage of local holidays and the week-long spring and fall breaks to travel through Italy and Europe. 

NYU Footer