Studying Abroad in Firenze, Italy

So it has been one crazy day after another. The program has been great! I have met so many fantastic people throughout this trip. There are 50-60 students in the program. I am continually meeting new people everyday.

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This picture was taken in Sienna on one of our day trips last week. This should be a complete picture of all the students in the program with me.

A lot of people have been asking my mom and I about the program itself. “Would you live there?” Or “How are you liking it?” I’ll be honest,  I was so nervous and anxious about this trip. I have never been away from my family or even home for more than 2-3 weeks at a time. The thought of being away for 2 months seemed absolutely crazy! Although, now that I am here, I am so happy and loving every minute of the program. I can definitely picture myself living here, in Florence or as the locals call it, Firenze.

My main course this semester is humanities. I have class Monday-Thursday from 9am-10am. My teacher, Senya, is the best. She is very knowledgeable in her field as well as in art and the Italian language. She brought 2 of her kids with her and they join us with all of our tours and adventures around the city. Being in her class is so fun! We talk about things that have happened to us, anything we find interesting about the city or art itself, we learn some basic Italian phrases, etc. Our time in class rarely ever feels like a chore or actual school. The classroom setting is so relaxed. The only time you ever feel the pressure of being in a school setting is when you present. All students are required to pick a topic and present on it. My topic was patronage within the city of Florence during the Renaissance period. I talked a lot about the Medici family whose coat of arms/family crest is found all over the city of Florence.

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This image is basically the school. Granted, there are a few other aspects to it, but this is where we spend most of our time.

After my class each morning, I usually walk back to my apartment and change into normal clothes that are not sweats. All of us, students meet at a designated location around 11am Monday-Thursdays.  On most days, we have a tour which usually lasts around 1-2 hours and then we are free to eat lunch or continue exploring an area on our own. Since we are such a huge group, we are often split into 2-3 different tours. It is very common to get lost and sometimes left behind because we are slower than the rest of the group. I always find it very funny how the people react when they see 60+ people walking the streets, and attempting to cross the streets without upsetting busses and taxi drivers.

I think one of my favorite things about being here is experincing the “college experience.” I have an apartment. I have 2 housemates. I share a bathroom and a bedroom with McKenzie. My other housemate, Patricia has a private room and bathroom as well. We get along very well though. Unlike other people, we have never really had any issues or disagreements. They are fantastic and so sweet. Even though we may go our different ways during the day, we all try our best to look out for each other and help each other through each day. I really couldn’t have asked for better housemates.

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In this picture, I am on the very left. My roommate McKenzie is in the middle. We are the same age, but she actually lives in San Diego. My other housemate, Patricia is on the very right. She is our Momma Bird… literally. She has a 6 year old daughter and is always watching out and protecting McKenzie and I.

In comparison to our friends in the program, our apartment/town house is really big! We technically have 3 floors to ourselves. The first floor is where we walk in, take off our coats, etc. The second floor is our living room, laundry room, and our fully supplied kitchen! Finally, the third floor consists of the bedrooms and bathrooms. I cannot stress how much I love my apartment! I think the most challenging thing about our apartment is locking and unlocking our door. We have 2 keys and 3 locks from the inside. The first day here was very confusing. We found ourselves feeezing in the cold while we would fiddle with our keys. We definitely stood out a lot! Our apartment is probably not in a somewhat sketchy neighborhood, but it is still very safe to walk alone at night… if need be. I live about 5 minutes from school, from a grocery store, Conad City,  and a pharmacy, as well as a 5-7 minute walk away from 3 of my friends’ apartments, etc. My apartment is located on one of the Main streets so it is very common to be woken up by sirens in the middle of the night, random people yelling on the street, or even the street cleaners who come by atleast once a day! Despite the craziness, I really have no complaints. I really love living in a city.

My apartment is amazing!! My roommates are AWESOME! Being able to study abroad has been such an incredible opportunity. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Look out for my next post later this week to see more about my everyday adventures in Florence!

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