Dear Sophie, you’re going to love it.

Where do I start? First of all, Italians are not nearly as scary as you thought they were going to be. Most of the time when you try and speak broken Italian to them, they will smile and are always willing to help you. You don’t need to be perfect, just need to be respectful and friendly. Going to a new country without knowing anyone else on the program can be scary, but I promise you’ll make friends. They’ll make you laugh harder than you ever had and they’ll push you to be a better person in this new world. You’ll see the most beautiful places and have some of the most fun you’ve ever had in your entire life. Don’t get caught up in the grandiose of it all. Enjoy the moment, just as the Italians do. 

The food is as amazing as everyone says. Try the wild boar and the ribolita, they’re local specialties for a reason. Don’t be afraid to go to a restaurant by yourself, good food should be appreciated, and you will always be served with a smile or a witty comment. FYI, the bread in Tuscany is as bland as they say it is, go for the schiacciata. Its like focaccia but much, much better. When by the coast, eat seafood and when up north, eat the steak. Vegetables are much, MUCH more delicious here but the kitchens are smaller. Just go eat out more! It’s much cheaper and much better than home anyway. And always order the house wine. 

Italy is much vaster than you could’ve ever known. It’s more than Rome, Milan, and the Amalfi Coast. You’re going to see some of the most dynamic mountain ranges, coastlines, and rolling hills you’ve ever seen. Italy is truly it’s own place and deserves so much credit for it’s natural beauty. 

There are going to be good days, great days, bad days, and horrible days. Life may be magical here, but it doesn’t stop it from being life. You’re going to have hardships. You may feel lonely, sad, lost, and overwhelmed. That’s ok. Life is about experiencing and going through all this world has to offer, even the parts that don’t make it into the top hits list. Going to a new place is going to feel weird and different, but you’ll have the best semester of your life. You’re going to grow and realize much more than you would ever expect. It is going to be so much fun. 

Art is so beautiful, you’re going to learn so much about it and appreciate it so much more than you ever thought. Go to the museums before the tourists come. Go twice. After mid march, the museums are far too busy and lose much of the charm they had in January. It’s important for you to experience this wonderful place for yourself as the locals do. You’ll probably take it a bit for granted, but it’s all still just as special.

I wish I was in your shoes to do it all again. Enjoy the ride. 

All my love, future Sophie

Ps. The 20 hour a week internship has a class with assignments to do that goes alongside it.