I write this last blog post with a heavy heart, but it goes without saying that every part of me fully acknowledges and appreciates having even had this opportunity in the first place. I cannot give enough credit to the multiple external factors that facilitated this trip, from my parents to USF to FUA, in addition to my own academic and extracurricular achievements that enabled me to win the Gilman Scholarship. In the past six weeks, I was able to see through a lens that exposed me to an entirely divergent way of life than the one created by American social norms and trends; a way of life I never knew was feasible. I realized that indefinitely going through life in the sheltered bubble that results from never leaving the country you grew up in is incredibly detrimental to the development of one’s cultural, emotional, and intellectual potential. Through this program, I was given the chance and time to not only travel to 6 Italian cities in total, but also a city in another country (Paris). In the past six weeks I’ve taken classes with topics completely outside of my normal academic comfort zone, tried new foods that I’ve since fallen in love with and incorporated into my daily diet, and met people who I typically would never cross paths with in any other context– and thus never create the uniquely intimate bonds with those around me that I have. As I prepare to head home, I realize that over the course of the trip I have already taken several measures to retain as many of these memories as I can, including saving tickets and receipts from restaurants, stores and museums in addition to journaling on a regular basis about each day’s highlights. I highly encourage anybody who has any inquiries or thoughts about Florence study abroad to contact me, because I really do consider myself somebody who made the most of their time while in this beautiful environment. Ciao for now Florence, but not nearly forever.