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Making Florence Your Home Away From Home

“Your home away from home” is such a common, overrated phrase heard by billions of college students these days.  But in reality, it’s one of the truest statements I have ever heard.  I was lucky enough to find a college that did feel like home and now, I am even luckier to study abroad in a city that feels like my second home away from home.  Getting acquainted with the Florence lifestyle doesn’t come naturally.  It requires a lot of patience, open-mindedness and tough love.  Here’s a few tips that will help you make Florence your new “home away from home.”

Don’t: get caught up on things happening at your real home.

Many (including myself) have a hard time letting go of what is going on in their home or college.  FOMO (a fear of missing out) is a real thing, my friends.  This doesn’t mean you have to completely cut off ties with your friends back home, but don’t feel the need to constantly refresh your Snapchat when you know there’s a huge party going on back at home.

Do: be open to meet locals & other study abroad students.

Many travel blogs may tell you not to go to the American bars or cafes because of their lack of authenticity but they provide great opportunities to meet other students abroad.  I’m not saying go to the same American pub every weekend, but if you do, make friends with the bartender who isn’t American and speaks broken English to remind you of the country you are in.

Traveling with student travel companies is another great way to branch out and meet American students from other schools. Don’t be afraid to sign up alone because it is guaranteed you will meet someone on the trip!

dinner
Only 3 of us knew each other before we came to Florence.  Go meet new people!

Don’t: be focused on making your apartment feel cozy.

The more you like your apartment, the more you will stay in when you could be out exploring the city.  It’s good to keep your apartment tidy and comfortable, but don’t spend all your time decorating, hanging pictures or cleaning.  You’re only there for a few months. It’s okay to not have the cutest apartment because you won’t remember the days you stayed in.  You’ll remember the days you got completely lost exploring and finding new hangout spots.

Do: learn how to cook.

There is an unlimited list of restaurants to try out, but as a typical broke college student, you won’t be able to eat out every night.  Be willing to try and cook the meal you fell in love with at that restaurant last week.  It may not turn out as good or you may find your inner-Italian chef!  Eating and enjoying food is a big deal here in Italy and food is always better with the satisfaction of having made it on your own. So try it out! (But if it turns out that you’re a terrible cook like myself, make friends that aren’t!)

homecooked
A home cooked dinner with friends!

What do’s and don’ts have you found to be helpful while adjusting to the Florentine lifestyle? Comment yours below!

 

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Katie Elking
A few of my fav things are iced coffees, sunsets, beach days, the season of fall, long bike rides... I think you get the point. Kent State University, Class of 2018 Marketing, International Business & Sport Administration

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