I’m standing in line at security in the airport, staring back at my mom, wondering why I made the decision to go so far away for such a long time. What would I do if I got sick, if I missed home, or if I was stressed about school? All these thoughts raced through my head as I looked back at my mom waving, holding back tears. I carried on and went through the chaotic line, eventually meeting up with a few other students who were also studying abroad in Florence. There was no turning back now.
The flight to Florence was fairly easy, a little turbulence and some uncomfortable seats, but that is to be expected! After falling asleep for a few hours, I was awoken by the smell of warm chocolate croissant being offered as our breakfast (this was a GOOD sign). After reaching Florence, a few of the girls that I traveled with and I got settled into our AirBnB and decided to roam the city to find somewhere to eat. I was shocked by the beautiful buildings Florence had to offer. I haven’t seen anything like this before. It made me feel excited and hopeful to call this new place my home for the next 13 weeks.
My first dining experience in Florence made me, and the other girls with me, feel welcomed, making this transition smoother. We went to a small family owned pasta place, where the owner came to our table, gave us free appetizers to try, and gave us some advice for our semester here. This friendliness calmed our nerves and made us more excited for the months ahead.
The next day, we were given our keys to our apartment. My two roommates and I were nervous and did not know what to expect. We reached our apartment, about 15 minutes from CAPA. Shops and cafes filled the streets as we approached our new home for the first time. It was a small apartment with tall ceilings. The walls were white and bare, but once we unpacked, it started feeling more like home. I was lucky enough to get my own room with a desk and dresser, while my other two roommates share a room. We got the chance to meet our landlord the first night we were in our new apartment and he could not be nicer. His wife and him were kind and welcoming (and even bought us some local chocolate to enjoy). These kind gestures and welcoming faces have been a reoccurring theme throughout our short time here. It brings me comfort to see all this kindness.
The first few nights in Florence were hard because of my jet lag. I found myself falling asleep and waking up for hours in the middle of the night. It took a week to finally start sleeping like a normal human again. Over the first week, I met many new faces, overcame some homesickness, and learned a lot about my school program. Overall my first few experiences with Florence have been incredible and I can’t wait to see what’s to come!