Florence, Italy | August-December 2014
When I was sixteen I was exposed to the European lifestyle when I traveled to abroad to Paris, France for the first time. Everything from the glass bottles, baguettes, subway tickets and the cigarette smell all just felt luxurious. Ever since that trip, my mind was already set on going to study abroad while I was in college.
My sophomore year of college was full of life changes, so I decided it was time to finally apply to the study abroad program at Canisius. While I didn’t really have a certain city in mind – London? Lille? Berlin? Galway? I knew I had to just go for it. Luckily for me, a few of my friends were set on going to Florence, Italy so I said “why not?”
I am SO glad I hopped on the Florence train. That place changed my life.
I lived in apartment with six other girls – five of us were from Canisius and the two other girls were from the University of Georgia. I’m so thankful of the memories we all have together and for being great travel partners for that time in our life. Our apartment located on via del Campidoglio, was right around the corner from Piazza della Repubblica, a popular square in the middle of Florence that always buzzed with music and carousel rides. We couldn’t have asked for a better location and atmosphere. The history and art that Florence holds all on its own is mind blowingly incredible. Dating back to the very first century, Florence is a wonder to look at.
*fun fact: our apartment was two steps away from the apartment the Jersey Shore cast stayed at*
The most exciting part was choosing my classes – I had saved up a lot of my free electives in order to spend them on fun classes while I was abroad. I took up oil painting, wine business & marketing, travel writing, environmental studies and of course, beginner Italian language.
The hardest part was learning how to adjust. It is one thing going on a weeks vacation to a foreign country but it’s a whole other thing having to live there for almost four months. I have to get groceries, but not toooo many because I have to carry them all on my walk back to my apartment, settle in to a new school that have different buildings all over Florence, meet new classmates from around the world, learn basic Italian phrases, try not to get lost on these narrow streets and don’t stare too much up at the Duomo because you will run into tourists. Got it.
Those months in Florence put me in for the ride of my life. I was homesick, missing my new relationship with Chris, sad to not be home for Thanksgiving for the first time with my family, missing my grandmother who recently passed away. Yet, I felt so energized and excited every time I had to step out onto the streets. Going to class made me feel like an Italian civilian, passing by the tourists like “yeah, I live here” and going out to dinner most nights with my roommates was so much Italian fun. I still crave the truffle ravioli from a restaurant we used to go to often down the street.
I am still in love with Italy.
And if you’ve ever talked to me about traveling, you know I don’t shut up about how amazing this country is. From the beaches, the food, the people, the history and just the feeling in the air, Italy is special. If there is ever an opportunity for you to go to Europe and you have to choose where to go, choose Italy.
Here are photos I took with Chris’ nice Canon camera and ones screenshotted from Snapchat – all holding just as much memory and significance to me.