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Aaron Smithson CC’19 (center) with friends from the Columbia Summer Program in Venice, Italy. Photo: Courtesy Aaron Smithson CC’19

Discovering a New Side of Venice

“I’ve seen a side of Venice that I wasn’t really familiar with....” —Aaron Smithson CC’19 

Aaron Smithson CC’19 spent Summer 2016 studying on the Columbia Summer Program in Venice, Italy program as a 2016 Presidential Global Fellow. The Presidential Global Fellowship program, funded with a seed grant from Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger and established in 2014, covers the program fee associated with a Columbia global program, as well as a stipend to cover round-trip airfare and living expenses, for students to study in a location at or near one of the Columbia Global Centers. Here, Aaron reflects on her experience.


Before arriving in Venice, I expected (based on a previous visit and various assumptions regarding Mediterranean culture) to find a city that functions at a pace that is very different from New York’s. In many senses and in many parts of the city, my expectations have been met. ... What have surprised me, then, are the moments in which Venice presents itself as a fast-moving, fully-functional modern city like any other. ... I’ve seen a side of Venice that I wasn’t really familiar with, and have come to appreciate that even a city that seems straight out of a postcard needs robust infrastructure and working people and appliance movers and everything in between.

Aaron Smithson CC’19
2016 Presidential Global Fellow
Venice: Italian and Art History

Last updated Monday May 22, 2017

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