I had a few expectations before I departed from America. I thought that the pizza in Italy would be fantastic and I was so excited to try all the trattorias here. I remember the first time I flew into the airport here in Florence how hungry I was as soon as I stepped off the plane. Being a cook in America I was so ready to get down and dirty learning how to cook in Firenze. Luckily, I was able to take a cooking class and learned how to cook like the Italians. I even bought a personalized apron here. Professionally I thought Italians were lazier at work than is the reality. They do not take that many coffee breaks. Academically, I thought the Italian teachers would be less difficult. In reality, they might be more difficult than most American teachers. They are quite strict on tests and rules.
My study abroad experience has been excellent so far. I have grown quite comfortable here in Florence, but I do miss my family and my cats back home. I have three takeaways from my study abroad experience 1.) Traveling in Italy is incredible but potentially detrimental to my final grade. 2.) Italian teachers are tough but if you can get on their good side they seem to appreciate that when it comes to grading. 3) Not everyone speaks English. Living in Florence, speaking English is so easy the entire population seems to be good at it due to the school system, American music, and due to the large population of Students whom are American in the Firenze area. One time I experienced culture shock was absolutely the time I went to bologna and realized almost no one spoke English. I went on a solo trip to bologna and really liked it but it was a “Oh my gosh, I’m abroad” moment when I tried to speak to someone in English and they just had no idea what I was saying. That was eye opening because most of Europe speaks good English.
The internship here has been quite good. I immediately connected with the workers at the office and just really appreciate what Shippypro has been able to help me with. The only challenges I had were with the minimal directions given for assignments, but I eventually figured everything I needed to do. To others going through an introduction to working abroad I would say first impressions are important so make a good one.