Every semester we like to spotlight exceptional students and our SRISA scholarship recipients. This semester Gillian Drier was awarded a SRISA merit scholarship. Read on to learn more about this aspiring artist!
Gillian Drier is currently a working on a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, with an emphasis in graphic design and painting. She is in her third year at school at the University of Wisconsin Madison and hoping to graduate in 2017.
SRISA: Why did you choose to study abroad?
Gillian: I had always heard that study abroad was an excellent experience to have. I saw my friends’ travel photos on Facebook and other social media and wanted to have experiences like those. It was always said that a travel abroad experience changed people’s lives for the better; I wanted to learn more about other cultures, how things and ideas are done differently in different places, and I wanted to learn more about myself when put in a new setting.
– What is it about Italy that inspired you to want to study abroad here?
After taking multiple Italian Renaissance Art History courses, I decided that I wanted to travel to Italy to study at a school close to the heart of Renaissance painting. I had three other friends study at SRISA in previous semesters, praising the experience. I then decided to apply to Santa Reparata International School of Art.
– Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?
I believe that a true perspective cannot be gained, until you step out of your comfort zone and can look back in. I have been able to learn about other countries perspectives on American politics and social class issues; and how countries inversely deal with their own politics and social issues. I believe a worldly view cannot be gained from staying in a place where everyone thinks, speaks, believes, worships, eats, and perhaps even looks like the same. My goal is to be able to empathize better with issues that may not directly affect me and to better understand the issues that do.
– What academic goals do you have while here?
I hope to be challenged academically, by taking classes in subjects that I have not yet taken at my home University. I hope to maintain a strong GPA, while being able to travel on the weekends. I hope to bring back new skills and intertwine them to make my body of work stronger.
– Although you may have many, what has been one highlight thus far?
Though it may be a cliche, my favorite part of Florence thus far has been the amazing gelato parlors scattered around the city. Gelato is an amazing food, and one can tell who the tourists are, because only they eat gelato late at night. The different flavors, the fresh cream taste, and the cones made in-house join together to create an amazing experience, and one that’s always near-by.