Going into this trip, I had no prior experience of this country or Europe in general and therefore had a vague idea of what to expect in regards to culture, food, education, the social scene, and the potential language barrier. After having been in Florence for almost a week at this point, I genuinely couldn’t feel more comfortable or assimilated in all of the aforementioned aspects.
My roommates and I bonded immediately, I had no trouble making friends with those in my program and from other colleges throughout the US, and I’ve established a tentative daily routine that facilitates a balance between school, travel, leisure/ entertainment/ socializing, and sleep (very important). I was particularly concerned that I would struggle to “find my place” in a foreign context such as this one, but I’ve determined that this city appeals to everyone in some way, shape or form.
The professor for my 3- week course is incredibly passionate about her field and adapts a collaborative, hands- on approach to the material, making the class experience feel engaging and intimate. I would highly recommend taking a 9-1130 am class to anybody considering studying abroad, as this choice has enabled me to both feel productive early in the morning and also spend the rest of my day as I please with no interruption.
Obviously, the food is mind- blowing and will surely render American cuisine disappointing in comparison once I return home. In addition, I’ve definitely been getting carried away with the amount of meals I’ve purchased as opposed to cooking them myself. However, my mantra remains that you can’t put a price tag on experience in this country.
It goes without saying that my initial impressions of Florence thus far have highly exceeded my wildest expectations. This weekend I have my field learning experience in Pistoia for my class, but for each following weekend I’ll be traveling outside of the city. Stay tuned for updates and photos from those upcoming excursions!