Abroad Alone? Abroad Alone.
Rachel, Florence, Spring 2018
February 15, 2018

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.

Watching the sunset from Ponte Vecchio

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.

Leather shoe shop in the street of Florence

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.’

Yogurt and Nutella Gelato from Gelateria La Carraia. It was only 1 euro and so yummy!

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.

View from the San Miniato al Monte Basilica

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.

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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.