On a Friday, after my first class of the day, I am sitting an writing on the roof of the Accademia’s Teatrino, looking out over the medieval town of Arrezzo and off into the Tuscan hills. What a day in the life here entails, this far in the semester, is a walk in the Italian sunshine between my lab-length classes, and out the windows of the studio I can see the clear, blue skies dotted with white cumulus clouds. I am currently a BFA Acting student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and I came to Accademia Dell’Arte to study physical theatre for the fall semester. There is of course a culture shock to any experience living or studying abroad, but I am pleased to say that so far, I have felt the biggest and best difference being able to study my craft in such a beautiful place as Arrezzo. Back in Pittsburgh, I’ve grown used to the constant cloud cover and the industrial bustle of the city, seeking respite in my school’s studios – I shut the door and block out the rest of the world, and then the work begins. Then I can immerse my self in my art. But here, on our first day, we began meeting each other as artists and building our ensemble in the olive grove behind the villa. In seminar class, my peers and I discussed our respective artistic goals while the sun shone on our faces and the wind blew our hair. Right from the very beginning, the entire environment of the Accademia has been conducive to working and discovering my artistic practices. Unlike being home in the states, I don’t feel like my creative freedom begins and ends when I lock myself into the neutral environment of a studio. Instead, I feel the freedom all around me as I work, eat, and live beside my peers, who all encourage each other to learn and create. The villa where the Accademia houses their students has been the perfect retreat from the fast pace, work-oriented environment of my home in Pittsburgh – a place where my art, and my study can blend into the rest of my life with a simultaneous sense of peace and purpose.