Arriving to the airport with my 2 suitcases barely making the weight limit, 5 different “guides to Florence” saved on my phone, and my passport in hand it was safe to say I was ready to embark on my 3 month long adventure. Now that my time in Florence has flown by I have learned so much about myself and don’t regret a moment of my time spent abroad.
1. To leave my comfort zone
When I first arrived here I told myself that I wouldn’t hold back from doing things that scare me. From singing karaoke at Red Garter to taking a yoga class in Italian to traveling alone, these are some of the many things that I never thought I would do yet I somehow did and I believe made me grow as a person. The thrill I got from stepping out of my comfort zone and doing these things is something I will never forget and made study abroad even more interesting.
2. To take advantage of every opportunity to travel
I must stress that it is very important to dedicate some weekends for just staying in Florence but all other weekends taking advantage of traveling to a new country or city was my favorite part about abroad. You may never have an opportunity like this to hop from one country to the next so easily. I almost didn’t go on my last trip to Budapest, Vienna, and Salzburg but with it being one of my favorite trips I am so glad I did. If your friends ask you a week beforehand “want to go to London this weekend” my advice would be to not even hesitate just say “yes!!!”.
3. That I can eat pasta, pizza, and gelato as many times as I want
I am convinced Italian food at home will never compare to the dishes I have consumed here in Italy. Not only that but the fact that I could eat pizza for lunch, pasta for dinner, and top it all off with gelato and then repeat the cycle the next day without being completely judged is something I will miss. I thought one day I would be sick of eating pasta and pizza but I proved myself oh so wrong. It simply never gets old here!!
4. How to adapt to a new culture
Eating dinner no earlier than 8:00pm, walking everywhere, no dryers, the loud and blunt way of how Italians speak, and many more cultural differences. I wasn’t sure how I would ever get used to these changes when I first arrived. However after a while I quickly adapted and might even miss some of these things such as being able to walk everywhere and not being rushed out of restaurants. Having to hang all of my clothes up to dry made me realize how I take my dryer back at home for granted but abroad is all about adapting and that is just what I had to do.
5. To take in all the art and history
Before coming abroad I have to admit I was not a huge museum person but being in Florence has made me appreciate the art and history surrounding me so much more. I began to notice and gain more appreciation for the frescos painted on the buildings in my neighborhood, the ceilings of the Uffizi Gallery, and even standing next to the real David. Florence has so much art and history to offer and is meant to be admired by all who encounter it. Taking classes and actually being able to go see these pieces of work in person has given me a whole new perspective on artwork and the history behind it.
I have Florence to thank for giving me this unbelievable opportunity and making me grow as a person. I may be leaving sleep deprived, with twice as much luggage I came with, and a 13 hour flight ahead of me but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world. Who knows if or when I will be returning to Florence but until then I have the memories and photos to look back on for the rest of my life.
Ciao for now, Florence.