This summer, I'm planning to take part in a study trip to Orvieto, Italy led by my thesis mentor, Rebekah Smick. This trip is a joint course run by my school, the Institute for Christian Studies, in partnership with Gordon College. Over the course of four weeks, I will have the opportunity to study art, religion, history & culture firsthand in Orvieto, Rome, Assisi, and other cities in the area as a way to round out my MA thesis research in philosophical aesthetics. You can find more detailed information about the program here: http://www.icscanada.edu/art_in_orvieto/workshops.
As well as being the final course I need to fulfill my MA program requirements, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fill a large gap in my art-historical knowledge. The Italian Renaissance, so important to the development of Western art, began in this region. Until now, I've not had the chance to study this era or artistic movement in detail. Being able to explore the artistic, religious, and historical artifacts in person and with the knowledgeable tutors who'll be leading this program will just be something I would never be able to do otherwise.
I have been working to fund my own way through my MA program, and have been able to do that so far, but the funds I need to travel to Italy and back for this course are just out of my reach. Costs for the trip include accommodation, meals, excursions, and flights. To defer some of these costs, I will be working as a Research Assistant to my mentor while on the trip, and I will be working here in Toronto (yay Starbucks!) and saving up until leaving for the trip. In addition to the work I've been doing, I've already had people bending over backwards to help me go on this trip, which has been humbling and heartwarming to say the least. So as much as I want to go for my own reasons, I also want to go for the people who have cared enough to want me to go.
What I find myself needing to ask of you all now is to help me raise funds for my flight. I have been researching flight costs, and have been able to find flights through sites like StudentUniverse for around $850.00 CAD round trip. As I take the time to raise the funds to actually purchase the flights, though, I anticipate costs will go up. So, I have set my fundraising goal here a bit higher to $900.00 CAD. But the sooner I am able to raise enough funds, the better my chances of finding a cheaper flight. If I manage to raise enough money here to purchase a flight, I'll end the fundraiser and probably do a dance of gratitude in honor of you all.
Regardless of whether you contribute financially, I would greatly value the contribution of your continued thoughts and prayers as I try to finish up my MA program! Thank you all for taking the time to read through my request.
All the best!