Wow… It’s hard to believe that it has already been four weeks since I arrived in Florence, and I can confidently say that the experience has been absolutely incredible. When I reflect on my first day here, it’s astonishing to see the tremendous progress and personal growth I’ve achieved in such a short time. Along the way, I have formed amazing friendships, explored numerous cities, and indulged in many servings of delicious gelato.
I am currently attending CAPA, a small university located in the heart of Florence. One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed compared to Pitt is the size of the school. CAPA has a much smaller student body, which creates a close-knit community. In my classes, the class sizes are significantly smaller, allowing me to become familiar with the names and faces of most of my peers. This sense of community makes the big city feel much less intimidating.
At CAPA, I am enrolled in two courses: Oil Painting and Cross Cultural Psychology. Both classes have surpassed my expectations, and I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge from my professors in the relatively short time I’ve been here. Taking an art class for the first time since high school has reignited my passion for art, and I genuinely look forward to attending class every day.
In my psychology class, we frequently embark on field trips to parks or plazas, immersing ourselves in Italian life and observing our surroundings. I find this hands-on approach of immersion and observation to be the most effective way of learning. Beyond the course material, I am fascinated by the opportunities to learn bits of the Italian language from my professors and listen to their stories and experiences of living in the local community. It’s truly enriching to receive their recommendations and tips on what to explore and do in the city.
Some of the projects I am working on!
My Cozy Apartment
My apartment is situated in a prime location, across the Arno River and just a short walk from the city center. While it may require a slightly longer walk to reach school, the trade-off is that I reside in a peaceful and tranquil part of the city. The view from my apartment is nothing short of spectacular, overlooking the Arno River, Ponte Vecchio, and the Duomo. The sunsets in the evening are truly unreal and I look forward to watching them from the living room window every night.
Living with seven roommates has surprisingly been a seamless transition. Despite the seemingly large number, we have ample space in our living arrangement and have all become close friends. Additionally, we are fortunate enough to have air conditioning, which is considered a luxury in Florence.
My 7 amazing roomies and the view from our apartment!
Although my overall experience has been amazing thus far, I have encountered some challenges along the way. One particular difficulty I’ve faced is overbooking myself. Being aware of my limited six-week stay, I have a strong desire to participate in every activity, accept every invitation to social events, enjoy dinners with friends, and embark on day trips to nearby cities. However, this eagerness to seize every opportunity becomes exhausting and sets an unrealistic standard when combined with the demands of schoolwork and other obligations. To manage this, I have learned to delegate my time to things that I actually value rather than falling to the pressure to be everywhere at one time. It’s hard to balance and at times I feel like I am missing out on something, but appreciating that I had the opportunity to be even studying abroad recenters me and allows me to be in the moment.
That’s all I have for now! I cannot wait to savor the last 2 weeks I have left in this beautiful city.