So far, I couldn’t be more thrilled with where I am. There’s something special about Florence in that it’s very manageable and easy to adapt to. It’s pretty incredible to think that just a few weeks ago I was absolutely clueless as to what studying abroad would be like, and if I’d be happy. Luckily, I’ve found myself placed in an ideal situation and would love to share the entire process up to this point… So let’s go back in time and walk through the first few days of adapting to Florence!
Up to arriving in Florence, I hadn’t actually been too nervous for the program, only excited. People kept asking me in the weeks leading up to the trip questions like “Are you nervous?” “Are you ready?” “Do you know your Italian yet?” And honestly, I just brushed off these questions, sure that adjusting to life in Italy would be a breeze. But sure enough, as I walked out of the airport into a foreign country, I was immediately hit with a wave of emotions.
Suddenly I was having second thoughts. I asked myself if I’d made a mistake spending a semester away from all my friends and classes in Pittsburgh. I wondered what my roommates would be like, how my apartment would be, how expensive living here would be. So many questions buzzed through my mind and I found myself a bit overwhelmed–and maybe overtired– after my long flight here.
This feeling luckily didn’t last long. I stepped into my apartment to find a fully equipped kitchen, pre-made beds, and a beautiful balcony overlooking a terrace in my neighborhood. My landlord was there waiting for my friend and I to show us around the place and make us feel comfortable. He told us where to buy groceries, what restaurants to go to, and even introduced us to our Italian neighbors.
I’m also really happy to have been placed across the Arno River from the center of Florence. In the center of the city, the area is a bit more touristy and expensive. Being a 30 minute walk away from the CAPA Center (my school) in the center of the city, my apartment is in a more residential area that doesn’t have many Americans or frankly tourists of any nationality nearby. Though this was at first daunting, I quickly grew to appreciate it. This situations gives me the perfect mix of both worlds, allowing me to both spend my days in the heart of one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world while also being able to explore my own neighborhood and find hidden Italian restaurants that others may not know about!
I’m excited to see what’s to come!