Traveling to Europe has always been a dream of mine to cross off my bucket list. Between all the beautiful things to see, history and the authentic Italian food, I was fortunate enough to purchase my plane tickets to Florence and study abroad for six weeks. I am honored to share my experience with other students who are just as inspired as I was to explore the world outside of the United States!
What was your favorite thing to do in your host city?
I would love my to share my favorite thing I did (nearly every day) when I was in Florence! La Milkeria, a coffee shoppe, had the best iced vanilla lattes and crepes in town. Every day in between my two classes, I took the time to walk ten minutes to enjoy my iced latte and crepe filled with fruit, cream, nutella and more. It was definitely a dessert for breakfast! The locals who owned the cute shoppe remembered my name to kindly greet me everyday beginning with, “Ciao”. I truly felt like I was becoming one of the locals, even though I was foreign to their coffee shoppe. I could not get enough of this tasteful and dainty place.
What advice do you have for new study abroad students?
Studying abroad gives people the opportunity of a lifetime to travel, live and study in a foreign country. With many options to study at many schools around the globe, I was lucky enough to be accepted by Florence University of the Arts (FUA) where I had a focus in enhancing my studies in Fashion Merchandising. When I first arrived to my apartment in Florence, it was overwhelming. I was not familiar with Florence and did not know a single person besides my best friend I traveled with. Being absolutely clueless about being in Florence gave me the opportunity to rome around the city, get to know where I was living and become familiar with the European culture. When considering going abroad, it is vital that one keeps an open mind to the diversity. Jumping completely outside of one’s comfort zone will give someone the best European experience.
What did you learn about yourself when you were abroad? How have you changed?
I was constantly told before I left abroad that I was going to learn a significant amount for traveling outside of the country for the first time in twenty-one years. I knew there would be something to take away from going abroad. Not only did I learn so much from the two classes I took and the diverse culture, I also have seen a lot of change in myself as an individual. After being home for a month, I can admit that everything I do in the United States is something I compare to when I was in Florence. The culture shock that I witnessed is very different from one’s daily life in the states. Whether it is a quick stop at the local grocery store, a bite to eat across the street or walking to class, one will point something out that they feel is out of their typical, “norm” from living in America. I have learned to accept other cultures in the way their daily routine works. I have gained more respect and patience for others realizing that each person comes from somewhere around the world and may be living in an unfamiliar country like myself. It takes time to get used to things, but it is a dream that I highly recommend for anybody that I made a reality for myself!
Molly was a Summer 2019 Florence student from Western Michigan University.