Aaron Santos: A Summer Blog from Italy

Jul 15, 2022

by Aaron Santos
Student Writer

This summer, three students from Florida Southern College are participating in a study abroad program in the medieval Italian town of Mercatello sul Metauro. It is in an intensive Opera Camp, from July 2-29, 2022.

The camp provides intense opera skills training in vocal coaching and stagecraft, collaborative pianist, conductor apprentice, Italian language, master classes, audition seminars, resume building, and a cultural tourist component.

Aaron Santos, who graduates in December, has agreed to share his experiences with you through this weekly blog.

August 1
Ciao tutti!!!!
This is it!!!! We finished the opera and I am back home now. There are no words that could use to describe how amazing this program has been!!! The opera was such a fun time and the audience really enjoyed it.
Everyone was such a pleasure to work with, and I am so happy to now call them friends. I hope to one day go back because I miss that town so much!!!
However, it is good to be home with my family.
For the last time, Arrivederci!!!!

July 27
Ciao tutti!!!
We have finished Week 3 of the Opera Program and there are no words to describe how amazing it has been.

We performed a concert for the town on Thursday, and that was a truly wonderful experience. We all got to introduce our songs to the people in Italian, and at the end of the concert, they wanted an encore. According to one of the people who run this program, that has never happened before.

I performed in five different pieces, including three ensembles. Individually, I performed the part of Archibald in Lily’s Eyes  from The Secret Garden, then went solo performing Non Basta Mai (Never Enough), from The Greatest Showman.

It's been such a fun time and now we're preparing for the opera. I can't wait to tell you all about it.

But for now, Arrivederci!!!!

July 15

Ciao Tutti!!! Hello everyone!!!


This is Week Two of Italian Opera Program and I can't express to you in words how much I love it here!!!!

The whole group has become a supportive and loving family!!! And they are all so great. We've got Gwen, Drew, and Antoinette who come from Indiana; we got Sorren and Eddie from California; we got Jerry from China; we got Colby, Nicole, and Cullen from Orlando, Florida; and then there's Amber, Clara, Herbert, and me from Lakeland, Florida. Drew is my roommate, he's such a good guy. It didn't take us very long to get along. We have such amazing teachers on our staff who are so incredibly skilled in their craft. It's because of the Opera Conductor, Bruce, that I went from not knowing the opera at all to being almost fully memorized within a week. That is just an example of how good the staff is.

This opera, Gianni Schicchi, has been referred to as one of the hardest operas to learn, but this process has truly grown me as a musician and taught me to not be afraid of messing up or needing help.

And the city of Mercatello alone is simply beautiful. One of the pictures you see in this blog here is just a normal sight in the quiet nightlife of Mercatello. The people here are so friendly and kind and try their best to speak English to us so that we can talk to them. The food here is both delicious and extremely healthy. I'm already a whole notch tighter in my belt after only a week of being here.

So far, this trip has a dream come true. I'm hoping to visit Urbino or Pesaro this weekend for the touristy activities and such. I am so excited for what the rest of this program will bring, and I can't wait to tell you all about it.

But for now, Arrivederci e Buonanote!!!

See you later, and Goodnight!!!!!

MercatelloEnjoying the evening meal with new friends.


July 11


We have finished the first week in the Italian Opera Program, and it has been a wild ride so far!!! The little town of Mercatello is beautiful and so culturally enriching, but I must say the music and opera we are learning is very difficult. But if you aren't challenged, you can't grow!

Thus, I am still very excited for the rest of this trip. I can't wait to tell you more!!!

Until then, Arrivederci!!!!

MercatelloScenes from the town of Mercatello



My name is Aaron Santos, and I have the extraordinary honor of going to Italy for an Opera Program as a study abroad program. I flew on Wednesday, and I can’t express how excited I am in words.

I get to perform multiple concerts as well as an opera with many talented students that I have yet to meet. I am looking forward to learning so much from not only the other students, but also the faculty there to help hone and improve our skills in professional performance. I’m also excited for the amazing opportunity to make connections with some important people in regards to the future of my career.

But what I’m most excited for is being able to immerse myself in the lively culture of Italy. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!!!

For now, wish me luck!


Aaron Santos