Ruth Wels sitting on a green hillside in Italy

Ruth Wels

Ruth is a studio art major and art history minor who studied in Florence, Italy, at the Santa Reparata International School of Art.

Living arrangements:
I lived in an apartment with three other students. It was a ten-minute walk from the campus near the city center. We had a beautiful view of Brunelleschi’s Dome.

What effect did studying abroad have on your life?
I lived a very simple life in Florence. I did not take my computer and only had a cell phone for making connections while traveling. To be disconnected from the world I knew and out of my element for those months was something that will affect me forever. I spent hours wandering the city with my sketchbook, drawing and observing the mesh of different cultures that existed there. Learning the cultural ways of the Italians was something I enjoyed along with learning the language, both verbal and non-verbal.

In what ways did studying abroad allow you to learn and grow?
It gave me the opportunity to learn different techniques of printmaking which is something I am now pursuing here at Bethany.

In what ways did you connect with a new culture?
During my time abroad, I met many new people and experienced new cultures. I see the world as being very vast, and yet very small. People are not so different from place to place.

Describe your best memory from this experience.
There are so many good memories. One day my roommate and I left Florence by foot. We walked through the countryside into the hills, through ancient towns, over cobblestone paths. We passed fields of poppies and olive groves up to a church looking over the vineyards. We saw monks and nuns along the way robed in garb that made us feel as though we had stepped into the past. I loved that feeling of complete freedom and not knowing where the road would take me.