2 weeks (well, 2 weeks, 3 days, 2 hours, and 2 minutes to be exact) until I step on that plane and begin the best adventure of my life. Oh Italia, the land of beautiful food, beautiful culture, and beautiful people. Or at least, that’s what I have been told, as I have never traveled outside of the States.
I will be studying in Florence Italy through the API program Fall of 2015, and Chaing Mai Thailand through USAC Spring 2016.
When I tell people I am studying abroad for the entirety of my Junior year, many people look at me like I have three heads.
With less than 3% of all American students studying abroad for an entire academic year, I guess the shock is understandable. So, I do my very best to explain why!
I have always known I wanted to travel. Ever since I was a little girl, I was obsessed with learning about different cultures. If a friend or family member went on vacation abroad, I would literally harass them for each and every detail of their trip. I snooped around my grandma’s house until I found every single one of her travel journals, and have pinned hundreds of travel pages on pinterest. What can I say, I have been bitten by the travelers bug.
Therefore, I always knew that I would study abroad in college. I chose to study abroad in Florence Italy for an entire semester because I wanted to get a taste of what it is like to truly live in Italy. I feel that spending four months in Italy will allow me to experience the local culture of Italy, and break out of the tourist bubble. By the end of my time in Italy, I hope to know the language, know the best gelato shop in the city, and know the name of the fruit vendor in the Mercato Centrale. In other words, I want to know what it feels like to be a local.
I will be studying at the Lorenzo De’ Medici Italian International Institute, and will be taking classes in language, art, psychology, and politics.
There are so many things that I am excited to experience during my time in Italy. I am so very excited for the art of Florence. Some of the world’s most influential artists and pieces of art have called Florence their home, and I cannot wait to explore the birth place of the Renaissance.
I am also excited to have picked a location where it is easy to see a lot of Europe! On weekends, I have heard from past study abroad students how easy it is to get to other European countries. Be it: Germany, France, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, Finland, or any other country in Europe, I will have the ability to experience a multitude of cultures during the semester.
For the past few months I have been prepping for this next adventure abroad and have definitely come across a few helpful tips for anyone in the preparation stage like myself! When trying to learn a new language, I definitely suggest downloading the duolingo app or even buying Rosetta Stone! The later is quite expensive but definitely worth it. Also, I would suggest connecting with students who have been to your country previously! Study abroad alumni know exactly where all the good spots you do not want to miss are, as well as areas you might want to avoid! Also make pinterest your new best friend as there are countless tips and information on what it is like to travel Europe as a student and on a budget!
So am I nervous to study abroad at all? OF COURSE. Especially never having traveled before! As well as missing friends and family, wondering if the people I leave for a year will be the same when I come back, if I will be the same, these are all thoughts to Chinese Kites wonder about. But I know, more than anything, that this year will be the best, and most likely hardest of my life, and I am stoked to be able to share my experiences with all of you.
I better start packing! Until next time!