It’s been well over a year now since I first studied abroad in Florence, Italy. I hate to be all “white-girl-who-came-home-from-Europe-and-won’t-shut-up-about-it”(sorry fam), but seriously, I think the fact that I live here now gives me room to say study abroad legitimately, 100%, changed the course of my life.
Here are 9 ways that studying abroad will change you life, for the better!
- Every Single Person You Meet
Once you leave Florence you will remember every single relationship you made fondly. Whether lifetime friendships were forged, or just a one brief memory from the bar, everyone you meet will play an integral part of your study abroad adventure. You
- Change of Career Path
This is not necessarily true for everyone, but many people will study abroad, and find a passion for something other than what their major was pre-travel. For some this might mean finding that you wish to help build comes for the poor in a 3rd world country, others this may mean you want to purchase a vineyard in Chianti because you just love wine that much. For me it meant I discovered a passion for traveling and seeing all things new, so I gave up the theatre major, and focused on how I could travel and make money. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.
- You are opened to a new lifestyle
Clearly, Europe has many cultural differences to the United States. Studying in Florence will open you to the Italian way of life. You’ll slowly start realizing that you run late to everything, without worrying about it. You’ll think its normal when it takes 45 seconds for a picture to post to Instagram because the wifi is slow, and you will think it’s odd if your dinner is shorter than 2 hours.
- Appreciate the Simple Joys of Life in America
Free water, functioning wifi, air conditioning, Trader Joes, normal sidewalks, elevators, free public restrooms. The list goes on. Living in Italy is all about the experience, but when you return home you’ll learn to love the little things even more, and not take them for granted.
- Eating Habits
Seriously, living abroad will change how you see food. I’m not saying American food is bad by any means, but just the way you learn to eat will change drastically. Because of living in Europe, your eating patterns, along with how much you eat and drink, will all change. Expect these alterations in diet and eating habits when you live abroad. Personally, I wake up wondering what’s for lunch, and I eat lunch wondering what I’m going to eat for dinner.
- Money Management
Living on your own will in itself cause you to manage your money and pay close attention to spending. Living abroad on your own will not only make you payattention to your spending, but you have to focus on conversion rates as well. If living abroad doesn’t help make you a frugal spender (new leather boots or a weekend trip in Greece?), then have someone else take care of your money for you!
- You’re Forced out of Your Comfort Zone
Being in Italy means a whole world of new. You are going to be forced to step out of where you would normally find comfort, and get your feet wet in a new way of life, a new country, a new language. There will be award times. Embrace them. You will get lost. Cherish it. You’ll always find your way back, and you’ll never know what you’ll learn along the way.
- Falling in Love
I don’t mean coming home with a new boyfriend or girlfriend, though it does happen. You will fall in love with the history of Florence, the romance of Florence, and the charm the city holds. You’ll fall in love with Italy, with the wine, with the people. You aren’t going to want to leave.
- All the Memories
You won’t just leave your study abroad experience in Florence with fond memories. You’re going to leave with memories you hang onto so hard it hurts. You’ll go home annoying your family and “non Italy” friends so much to the extent they will tell you to shut up. But you know what? You’re not going to care. If you’re anything like me, you’re already searching for flights back to Florence.