Its been a little over 3 weeks since I made my journey across the Atlantic Ocean. While Florence is starting to feel a bit familiar, the last couple of weeks felt like a big roller coaster as I attempted to adjust to a city completely different than the ones I’ve lived in before.
Coming to a foreign environment posed some challenges like the obvious language barrier or not knowing that the restaurants charged you a sitting fees (what?) but the toughest was moving away from my people and embarking on a new semester alone.
I’m personally a bit unfamiliar with the idea of doing something alone. I think its common in today’s society to be expected to be with someone at all times. I realized when I got here that I was pretty bad at being alone and I was way too comfortable with the concept of ‘together.’
But whether you like it or not, sometime there isn’t another option. At the end of the day this semester is going to be a unique experience for each individual. After the first few trips alone to the café for a cup of cappuccino, first few hikes alone to the Piazzale Michaengelo, and a solo weekend trip outside of the country I realized that spending time with myself might not be that bad after all. Something that I was scared of now began to look like a huge growth opportunity.
Studying abroad is an experience like non-other and I feel so incredibly fortunate to be growing in a beautiful city like Florence. With a tweak in perspective and a clear agenda of what this journey could look like for me, I am thrilled to see how the next three months will impact me. I hope to spend it in the present and really embrace the beauty of spending time alone, and getting to know myself better.
Rachel is a spring 2018 SAI Florence student from the University of Missouri.