Crazy Travels to Florence!!

Ciao! My name is Ryan Grabau and I am a sophomore in the Honors College here at USF. I will be participating in the USF Science in Florence program this summer where I will be studying Organic Chemistry as well as observing Italian Physicians for a period of 6 weeks. As part of the trip I was awarded the Global Citizens Project Study Abroad Scholarship so my posts over the next few weeks will include connections to the UN sustainability goals. The Global Citizens Project seeks to shape USF students into well rounded Global Citizens by educating them on the goals of the world. Therefore these posts will be reflections on my experiences and what I have learned while being abroad.

This study abroad experience is a perfect fit for me because it provides great opportunities to advance my future career goal which is to one day become a pediatric surgeon at a major metropolitan hospital. The course I will be taking that has the most substantial influence on this goal is Physician Observation. This course involves not only observing physicians around Italy, but entail completing an assignment where each student writes a chapter for a textbook on the Italian Healthcare system. The level of research expertise required to  find sources that are solely focused on the Italian Healthcare system is very high and will be a great challenge to accomplish successfully and proficiently. Despite these challenges I am very excited to begin my once in a lifetime chance at experiencing what the world has to offer behind my opaque horizon. 

The past 36 hours have been packed full of intense traveling and train hopping! I am currently sitting in my apartment in Florence after what has seemed like a never ending day of transportation! The travel plan included two flights, two trains, and a cab ride to the check in station so you could imagine that it was a little hectic at parts! I have never been on a trip of this magnitude before so this travel experience was a huge learning opportunity for me to expand my horizons and experience the great wonders the world has to offer. Having to navigate all of those processes is tough enough by itself, but doing it in another country that doesn’t even speak your own language is insane!

Anyway, after being here for a few hours I can say that I have already made a connection to one of the UN Sustainable development goals! One of the UN Sustainable Development goals is Clean Water and Sanitation, which I believe is not truly being sought after in Italy. After walking around for a little while in the 95 degree heat and no air conditioning I wanted to take a break at the apartment and have some water. But imagine my surprise when I learned that the tap water in my apartment in Florence is not completely safe for consumption! All of the water that I need to use for consumption must be bought from a store out of a bottle or gotten from a specific “drinking fountain” and cannot be acquired from my sink! This process of always paying for bottled water is very different from the process in the United States where it is very common to go to a restaurant and order free tap water. I feel like this is a very striking fact that made me realize the lack of the UN Sustainable Development Goals around the world. If an extremely renowned and famous city in Italy does not even have clean tap water, then what does that mean for countries that aren’t as civilized as Italy?

Anyways, I am having a blast in Italy and have enjoyed seeing the sites that I have seen so far! Can’t wait to spend 6 more weeks here!


One thought on “Crazy Travels to Florence!!

  1. Hi Ryan,
    Looks like you are having an amazing time! Your interest in Global Sustainability sounds like a really cool goal to look into! Good luck on your travels!


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