It has been over two months that I have been in Florence, Italy. Two months of studying, living, and exploring in a new city while adapting to a new culture and lifestyle. For me, the most challenging part of assimilating to Florence is the differences between cultures. My initial shocks included how slow people walk, how laid-back people are, and the language barrier. All these culture shocks have turned into the things that I love most about Florence. I have learned to adapt to the slow pace of life here.
At first, I struggled a little with adapting but overtime I have learned to embrace the culture by learning Italian, taking walks, and talking to the locals. Everyone here is so nice and I have learned so much from asking questions. I still face a lot of challenges but have learned to manage them to make the most of my experience.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced is going grocery shopping. It seems like such a simple task, but the grocery stores in Florence are very different than the grocery stores in the US. It took a few times of grocery shopping to fully feel comfortable going to the store. The store is small, it is always crowded and there are not many options. The grocery store only has Italian food and a small section of international food, so my roommates and I get creative for our meals. It took us a few weeks to find all the ingredients for tacos!
Another challenge I have faced is public transportation across Europe. We travel only by train, bus or airplane, so it has been a lot of learning. My friends and I have experienced train strikes, plane delays, trains cancelations, and many other challenges while traveling. Together we have overcome all these situations and have grown a lot. I can safely say that I am a confident traveler now!
Studying abroad has been one of the best experiences of my life and I have learned so much about myself. Thank you for following my journey and I cannot wait to share more!