I was lucky enough to be awarded the Sir Trenchard Cox Scholarship after submitting two short essays arguing my stance on one piece of art/architecture/sculpture which I love (David’s ‘The Death of Marat’), and one which I loathe (The Shard). The generous prize of a place on the Northern Italy course ended up being two of the most exciting weeks of not just learning, but fun, imaginable.
As someone who would never have been able to attend the course without the generous prize, I cannot recommend entering two essays discussing art you feel passionately about enough, nor applying for any of the courses offered, regardless of whether you are successful or not.
Although our group began the trip as an incoherent group of individuals, we all left as friends bonded by the truly unforgettable experience we shared in Italy while learning from the brilliant, engaging and knowledgeable tutors in an intellectually and socially stimulating environment. Each day flew by with a schedule packed full of visits to galleries filled with influential art and buildings characterised by their incredible architecture, most of which I had only ever read about. The opportunity to engage with art work discussing contemporary society on a global scale, such as at the Venice Biennale and Damien Hirst’s ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’, was second only to being immersed in the deeply-woven sense of history ubiquitous in the cities we visited. For me, a memorable moment was feeling as though we were literally stepping back in time as we explored the various levels and former functions of the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome.
Altogether the trip was the perfect introduction to the culture, art and even language of Italy; although it has definitely set the bar high for the rest of my gap year, I am now more excited than ever to begin studying History of Art and Italian at university next year. My only regret is that the course was not longer!