George Coba: Italia as Text 2023

PHOTO DATE: 7/14/2022 LOCATION: Bldg. 8 Rm. 183. SUBJECT: Official NASA Portrait of George Coba. PHOTOGRAPHER: Norah Moran

George Coba has been a native Miamian all his life. He currently lives in Little Havana with his parents who are Cuban immigrants. He is currently an FIU student that is a part of the Honors College and has an internship with NASA. He loves to rock climb, hike and go on new adventures. He finds the most fascination and peace in nature’s impossible and chaotic beauty.

Italia Encounter as Text

The Italy study abroad program is my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore Italy’s deep history and culture that has spread across the entire world. Having taken John Bailly’s class in Miami I count myself incredibly lucky to be able to learn from him. His teaching style of walking lectures is extremely effective in immersing a student into the authentic nature of a city.

I chose to take this program because even though I may be able to travel to Italy on my own someday, I will never be able to recreate the teachings and unique experiences from the study abroad program. Learning and living among a group of fellow students is impossible in any other setting than these programs. It’s also unlikely that I will ever be able to take another study abroad program again as I will soon be graduating and leaving FIU. As a student in the honors college, I’ve been taught to value the importance of being a well-rounded human being through interdisciplinary studies and study abroad is the most different experience someone can have from everything that they know. Being born, raised, and going to school in Miami I have never been able to be fully enveloped with a different culture. The value that a program like this provides in terms of life experience is unparalleled by anything else a person can do.

While in Italy I expect to learn about the source of my own culture and Western civilization. Rome is the ground where there is history for millennia and the very beginnings of the Renaissance. Rome’s influence on the modern world around us can be seen everywhere. From the architecture of some of FIU’s buildings to the very foundations of language that shape the laws that we live by every day. Having the opportunity to connect with the origins of many of our society’s most fundamental ideas is unique to Rome.

Although Rome will be incredible, the other cities on this trip also hold incredible value I’m excited to learn from. The economics of early Europe made their way to the US’s current economic system and exploring Venice’s history would show the very beginning of modern capitalism. As a Finance major, Venice is an incredibly unique place to learn about the origins of the systems that I work in today to see how they formed and why they have changed over time.

Besides the incredibly exciting and expansive history I will be learning, there is also the culture of a completely different country I would dive into the deep end of. Italy is a powerhouse around the world and as one of the oldest countries that still exists, its traditions run deep. The food, language and everyday life of the country will be completely new. With a new culture around me the ideas and lessons I will learn from the people around me are completely unique. They will open my mind to completely new ways of thinking not only about academics but life. These are lessons that I will be able to bring back to Miami with me and unlike a silly souvenir from a regular trip they will change my life forever.

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