Hello readers (hopefully more than just Mom and Dad) and welcome to my very first blog post! I’ll be posting here biweekly and sharing stories about my incredible study abroad trip to Florence, Italy.
I arrived in Florence just about three weeks ago but it already feels like home. It was certainly nerve-wracking traveling here all on my own but I surprised myself when I felt instantly comfortable in this incredible city. I made the bold decision to choose a program in which very few of my fellow wildcats or sorority sisters were participating in, but I can confidently say that it was one of the best choices that I could have made. Being essentially on my own for the first few days forced me to truly put myself out there and it honestly felt like UNH Freshman orientation all over again. The program presented wonderful orientation activities to get the ball rolling but I had plenty of those awkward first conversations. I quickly got past it though, and made some awesome connections with many people in my program. My very first word of advice to those of you who are interested in studying abroad is: take the chance and go for it on your own!
After settling into my beautiful Italian apartment it was time to explore the city! I am from a very small town in Connecticut with just over 6,000 people so although Florence isn’t the biggest city, it seems huge to me! One of our first activities was a cooking class where we learned how to make gnocchi with bolognese sauce followed by the best chocolate cake that I have ever tasted! If you know me already, you know that food is more often than not my first priority; if you don’t know me you will learn that very quickly! The food here in Florence has proven to be some of the best that I have ever tasted. I’m sure I will delve more deeply into that subject at a later time.
The first week was filled with orientation activities and tours so it came as a slight shock last Monday that I actually was taking classes and attending school here. It is very easy to forget when you can easily fill your days simply walking around and taking in the beauty of the city. I’m studying abroad through API at Lorenzo de Medici, which offers a huge variety of classes. This leads me to my second word of advice: take classes that will immerse you in the culture of your city! Forget about the classes that you can easily take in the states. You’re in a foreign country so think about a cooking class or even a history of museums course. Although I am a physical education major at UNH (shout out to my favorite pedders), I decided to take a little side track this semester and explore the subjects of Fashion Marketing, Pairing Food and Wine, The Food of Italy (all hands on cooking!) and Italian. After just two weeks of classes I can certainly say that I will be enjoying school this semester.
I cannot wait to share with you the many stories of my experience here in Florence. Hopefully by the end of the semester I’ll even be able to throw in some full Italian phrases!