Running once a year, from January to March, The John Hall Venice Course offers students the opportunity to live in Italy for several weeks, exploring art, culture and much more. We spoke to former student Teddy Debreu about his experience on the course.
“Venice during the winter, when tourists are at a minimum, possesses a magically quiet aura. For six weeks, we, the students of the John Hall programme, were the only ones to disrupt and take advantage of that peace, and the city belonged to us.
During the day, we would attend lectures then proceed to explore every nook and cranny of the city, finding extraordinary hidden churches, exhilarating bars and amazing views. At night, our booming voices would echo through every canal, and we would meander about looking for the one and only 24-hour pizzeria. Venice may have been magically quiet, but we made it utterly vibrant.
Every minute that we were not sleeping, we were discovering more and more about our small city. From a private tour of San Marco to cooking classes that were basically cocktail parties, to art classes in a true Venetian’s apartment with a view over the Giudecca, the John Hall Venice Course never failed to astound us. Not one person would even think about skipping the “required” daytime walkabouts for fear of missing out on the discovery of spellbinding churches or of the essential spots that would later mean so much to us. I remember sipping Aperol Spritz on the Campo Santa Margherita like it was yesterday, and I will never forget how much I took its beauty for granted.
Not only did we unearth Venice, but we were given the opportunity to spend a week in both Florence and Rome as an extension of the course and take day trips to several locations like Padua, Ravenna, Tronchetto and more. By exposing us to such a vast expanse of art all over Italy, the John Hall Venice Course made the subject of art history completely accessible. I did not give a second thought to art history before I joined the course. Yet, after eight weeks of delving into Italian culture and exploring it with other like-minded students in a welcoming atmosphere, I found that the experience was the closest thing to a dream; in fact, I would spend the rest of my life on the John Hall Venice Course if it meant gazing at such beauty every day!”
The programme begins in London, and courses are open to students worldwide. Visit johnhallvenice.com for more information.
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This article first appeared in the February/March 2018 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.