Marist College is known for its Florence abroad programs, whether it be during a student's freshman year as part of the Freshman Florence Experience (FFE) or as an upperclassman's study abroad option.
Living in the heart of the Renaissance for four months is something that is irreplaceable--unless your heart pulls you elsewhere. Maybe your heart sees you studying marine biology in the Pacific. Maybe you want to spend your time among the rolling hills in Ireland. Wherever your heart may take you, there is a new app being released in January to help you make the best of your travel experiences as a student.
Introducing, Rayka: the first travel app specifically designed for student travel. Founder and CEO Landon Sanford with his partner and Co-Founder, Chief Operating Officer, Hans Braunfisch, were largely influenced by their own student travel experiences with the development of this app. Sanford and Braunfisch are both graduates of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Both spent time abroad, and continue to pursue their travel goals as they develop the Rayka App.
So what is Rayka? Rayka is an app that runs entirely on student reviewed travel destinations. This allows student travelers to find places with only student opinions, including restaurants, nightlife, trips to take, and more. Unique to Rayka is a ranking system of student favorites, rather than a five-star basis. Rayka has already been featured in Study Breaks, GoAbroad.com, and the Post and Courier, with more publicity to come after the January 9th launch date.
So far, students have responded well to the idea of the app. Marist junior, Theresa Carcaldi, recently went abroad to Marist's Florence campus, Istituto Lorenzo de' Medici, for the fall semester and had the trip of a lifetime; however, she felt that Rayka's app could have greatly benefited her experience. "I think it would’ve been really helpful to know the hot spots and safe places to go for nights out," she admitted.
Thankfully, Rayka will be able to help student travelers starting for the Spring semester. Carcaldi also brought up the idea of creating a feature on the app for "places where study abroad students can mix and mingle." As the app will continue to develop past the launch date, Sanford and Braunfisch will be able to turn student suggestions into a reality.
Carcaldi standing on the cupola of the Duomo in Florence.
This positive response has been extremely encouraging for Sanford and Braunfisch. In a phone call with Braunfisch, he told me that the app was originally intended to launch in November, but he and his partner felt that this would be a poor time to launch it since most people don't travel during the holiday season.
Get your passports ready, and wait for Rayka's January 9th launch date. Until then, be sure to like Rayka on Facebook, follow on Instagram and Twitter, and be sure to check out Rayka's website for more information.