Spring 2020 was the semester I felt like could change my life. Studying abroad gave me the opportunity to immerse in a new culture, meet new people, learn to be on my own, and so much more. Many students do not get homesick until a few weeks into their study abroad program, but mine was immediately. I did not know anybody going because I was the only student from UTC going through this program. As soon as I met my roommates and we bonded I knew I made the right choice. Although I loved meeting new students and locals my favorite part of the day was waking up and walking to class every morning. My classes took about 15 minutes to get to so I would put in my headphones and take in the scenery of Florence. I constantly observed the locals in the city as I passed by them and how they never seemed to be in a rush. What made Florence so unique to me was the lifestyle of the locals and how they viewed life. Even when I went into a cafe to get coffee they were always very laid back never in a rush, and did not even seem as if
they were working.

I never once dreaded going to class or considered skipping. Every class I took I found interesting. I remember feeling lost and very stressed trying to find my classes the first week but the people around me were very kind and usually could point me in the right direction. I met so many students from around the US, Mexico, and the Netherlands. I made the most memories with my roommates. We would eat dinner together, go on weekend trips to different cities in Italy, and explore Florence. I became very close with them, so when we were informed that our time had been cut short we were very sad. Even though Florence was not filled with many cases we knew that soon the city would be shut down. The vibrant city that we called home for only 4-5 short weeks was heartbreaking, but I would have rather had those few weeks than no memories at all.

I cherish the people I met, the amazing sights I saw, and all the things I got to do. Getting into a routine was how I coped with missing home when I first got to Florence. I signed up for a weekly yoga class through the school which was out of my comfort zone but I ended up loving. I would go running through the city if I had free time. I would take daily trips to a local cafe that knew my name and order by the time I left. I learned how to go grocery shopping so I could cook at home. Many of these little routines I had were the reasons it was so hard to leave because I had made this new city my temporary home. The friendships I formed were priceless and my experience as a whole was everything I had hoped for and more despite being sent home early.

Isabell Denton is majoring in Accounting and spent part of Spring 2020 studying abroad in Florence, Italy through a direct enroll option at LdM (Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici). Isabell had the following to say about studying abroad, “Live every day to the fullest because it could be taken away. Never stop trying new things and meet as many people as you can.”

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