A Life-Changing Experience
Alex, SAI Ambassador
August 28, 2018

We caught up with SAI Ambassador Alex, who reflects on her summer in Florence. 

What was your favorite thing to do in your host city?

My roommate and I would go on late night walks around Florence to reach our daily step goals (which were over 10 miles!). I loved these walks because were we able to just wander with nowhere to be. So much of our days were jam packed with things we wanted to do, so it was so nice to be able to just stroll aimlessly and find new parts of Florence that we hadn’t seen. We even found one of Florence’s infamous secret bakeries, which was such a unique experience that I will never forget. Florence at night is safe, tranquil, and breathtaking, especially along the picturesque Arno River. I really felt like I was able to experience the beauty of the city in a new way.

The breathtaking view from the Piazzale Michelangelo

What has your experience taught you about the world?

As cliché as it might sound, this experience has taught me that world is so vast and that no two places in the world are the same. I was able to travel to 5 countries and 19 cities in just 6 weeks, yet I feel like I have still only covered a tiny portion of the world. Every place I traveled to was so tremendously unique and it only made me more curious as to what the rest of the world is like. I truly feel that traveling has widened my worldview and made me realize that although I can learn about places in a classroom, the only way to truly understand the enormity of the world is to travel.

Hiking in Interlaken, Switzerland

How has studying abroad impacted your life goals?

Before this experience, I pictured myself staying in the states and only leaving to go on family vacations. Now, I want to travel as much as I possibly can in my life. I am already planning to study abroad in Europe again for my spring semester, and I can’t wait to hit all the places I missed this summer. The traveling I did during my study abroad experience definitely helped me grow as a person and made me see the view in a whole new light. Being able to go new countries, try new food, and meet new people has definitely pushed my out of my comfort zone in the best way possible. Throughout the experience, I kept learning more about both myself and the world, and it only makes me want to cover as much of the world as I possibly can in my life.

On a gondola ride in Venice

Alex was an SAI Florence summer 2018 student from The George Washington University.

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About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.