Ciao! My name is Chiara, and I am studying in Florence, Italy. I am from California where I attend Point Loma Nazarene University. I chose Florence because I wanted to live in a smaller city and experience the Northern Italian culture that is different from my culture roots, Southern Italy. I have been living in Florence for two months and my Italian experience has been more than I could have expected. Here are a few things that I have learned so far:
1. Live with a host family! Living with a host family has been the best decision I could have made for my time studying abroad. Adjusting to a new city and culture can be daunting, but living with a host family has helped me become accustom to the Italian lifestyle and has allowed me to relax and be myself. Each day after classes, I look forward to returning home to my little familiga!
2. Take an Italian language class! Florence is a popular tourist destination and also home to many other study abroad students which can feel at times like you are still living in the United States. It is common to hear and speak English, but by taking a language class it has helped me gain more confidence speaking Italian in public restaurants and to the local Italian friends I have met.
3. Explore Italy! The ease of catching a train to different towns in Italy is liberating. I have been able to take day/weekend trips to places like Cinque Terre, Lucca, the Amalfi Coast, and Lake Como which has allowed me to discover and learn more about Italy.
4. As the Italians say, “mangia”! The food in Italy is delicious and there is no such thing as too much pasta or too much panni. Besides, the carbohydrates will fuel the body for all the walking you will be doing.
5. Florentines know how to dress! It might be because I have grown up in San Diego where people wear shorts and flip flops year-round, but the Italians always look classy. They have perfected the art of a simple yet functional outfit.
I am happy that I chose Florence as my study abroad location. Every day, I try to take in all the adventures Italy offers because I know the next two months will fly by!
Chiara is a Fall 2022 student in Florence, from Point Loma Nazarene University.