Florence Pre-Arrival Journal

Hello! My name is Nishank Rangarajan and I am an incoming senior and Cell and Molecular Biology major at USF Tampa. I am a pre-med student and I intend on graduating in Spring 2023, later moving onto a MS program before entering medical school. I enrolled in the USF Science in Florence program to take biochemistry in order to accelerate my progress towards graduation, whilst also immersing me in a new environment and new culture. Considering that I have never lived alone and away from my family, this semester provides me a golden opportunity to prepare for an inevitability of living by myself.

The weeks preceding the start of my semester in Florence were incredibly hectic. I had copious amounts of work to complete at home, in addition to preparation for travel. This was made more difficult by the fact that I would be travelling to İstanbul, Athens, and Rome with my family for the week or so preceding June 26th, the start of my semester. Preparation for travel comprised of ensuring that I had all logistical issues sorted out, all clothes purchased and arranged for packing, and that all itineraries were prepared for travel before, during, and after the program. On June 17th, I departed from Tampa on a morning flight to Toronto, then from Toronto to Frankfurt, then finally landing in İstanbul on the afternoon of June 18th. There, I got to explore the cultural heritage of Turkey as well as learn about the history of the Ottoman Empire. These sites include the Galata Tower, Ayasofya Mosque, Topkapı Palace, Mısır Çarşısı, Kapaliçarşı, and more. On the morning of June 22nd, I made my way to Athens, where I visited the famous Parthenon on the Acropolis, Monastiraki square, and the many museums and ancient temples that dot the cityscape there. Finally, prior to parting with my family and leaving for Florence, I flew to Rome on the evening of June 25th. With June 26th being my 21st birthday, it was difficult for me mentally to part ways with my family in a foreign country halfway through my birthday. However, the time came, and I am now excited for my time in Florence.

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