This summer I had the best time studying in Florence, Italy. I had never even left the country before, so traveling alone for the first time to Europe was daunting. As soon as I stepped on that first plane, though, the nerves left and excitement took over. I was doing it. My plans to study abroad had been paused by so many years of covid 19. I had initially wanted to do a whole semester abroad, but I did not want to be away from all of my friends and my job senior year. So, a month in Italy will have to do.
Monday through Thursday, I had one class in the morning, and I was free to explore the rest of the day. My class and apartment were right in the city center of Florence. In fact, I passed “the duomo” every morning on the way to class. I loved Florence, especially in the middle of the week when there were fewer tourists, and I could walk around every garden, museum, and monument I wanted to. The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most important Italian art museums, and it is also huuuuuge. I spent an entire morning there one day because there was so much to see. It was amazing to see paintings I learned about in my intro to art class, like The Birth of Venus by Botticelli. One Sunday, they had a “free museum” day, so I went to 5 in one day. It was amazing.
Now FOOOOOD. I legitimately ate pasta every day. I found a regular coffee shop, pizza place, and bars I would frequent. I think I will miss pizza the most.
One of the biggest adjustments for me was the heat, honestly. It sounds silly but, in the US, we have constant access to AC, and it is way less common in Italy. Often, I would go home and only sit in front of my fan. I adapted pretty quickly, though, and realized it wasn’t that bad.
On the weekends, I would travel. My roommate and I went to Venice our fantastic first weekend. It is worth the hype. We saw Doge’s Palace and Saint Mark’s cathedral. One of my favorite activities, though, was taking a (free) tour of the local parts of Venice. Our tour guide was amazing and very educational about being a good tourist.
The following weekend I went to Cinque Terre (5 towns). Short train rides and hiking trails make these five coastal towns easy to get to. We started in Monterosso. I ended up separating from my roommate and went to the next village by myself via hiking. This ended up being fine because I met the nicest family who bought me lunch and spent the afternoon by the beach with me. I loved being in the water.
Next, was the Amalfi Coast. I made this trip through a comany, and all college students went. I made some friends, and we traveled around Capri and Positano. We did a few boat tours that showed us the most beautiful parts of the area. I loved this trip, especially because I made friends with some girls I spent the next two weeks hanging out with.
I learned a lot about myself. Before getting there, I expected to make a bunch of friends instantly and I would have a few roommates to bond with. When I had one roommate, I had nothing in common with, that didn’t happen.
I learned how to be content by myself a lot. It’s not that I didn’t make friends, I did eventually, but for the first 2 weeks, I didn’t have anyone to go to museums or explore the city with. And I realized that I liked it. But I liked it even more when I could go out with a group of girls and get drinks and dinner.
If I could do it again, I would go with one friend. If I had stayed longer, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference, but since it was only four weeks, I feel I would have gotten more out of it if I had a buddy from the beginning. But, I always had fun and made friends wherever I went, even if just for a day.
Kendra Satterwhite (BS Marketing) spent Summer 2022 studying abroad in Florence, Italy via a direct enroll at LdM. Kendra had the following to say about studying abroad, “Keep your expectations light and remain open to all the new experiences around you”
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