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Florence

Peeling Back The Layers: A Small Onion in a Big World

Cameron, Florence, Fall 2017

“Name one thing you wish you had known before studying abroad and one thing you’ve learned since you’ve been here.” My friend, Alec, proposed we all go around in a circle and share our responses to this question. As the only girl in a group of four traveling to Paris, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam for nine days, I thought I would be the sentimental one.

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Street Art in a Renaissance City

Alexa, Florence, Fall 2017

Florence is known for all of its’ churches, museums, and all of the amazing Renaissance art. When we think of Florence, we think of Michelangelo’s David in the Galleria dell’Accademia. We think of Botticelli’s Primavera and The Birth of Venus inside of the Uffizi Gallery. Every tourist goes to see the Brunelleschi’s Duomo and Ghiberti’s Baptistry Door.

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The Disappointing Road Home

Abbey, Florence, Spring 2017

The study abroad blues are real and though an unforgettable experience, it is an experience for many that leaves you missing your second home. Study abroad alumni- there are many, but just like a snowflake, not a single experience can be replicated. Going into the adventure and roller coaster called studying abroad, you can never be fully prepared, in fact you are guaranteed to be unprepared.

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Ribollita, a Tuscan Tradition

Sarah, Florence, Fall 2017

One of Tuscany’s most traditional dishes is the Ribollita soup. This soup is very popular after the wine harvest is done and autumn is in full swing. Ribollita is made of bread, beans, and vegetables of course. Due to the fact that Tuscans do not have a rich culinary history in their pasta dishes, but they are known as “mangiafagioli” all over Italy. Mangiafagioli means “bean-eaters.

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Farewell Florence

Siobhan, Florence, Fall 2017

As my last few days in Florence came to an end, I found myself feeling two polar opposite emotions. Half of me felt more than ready to get home back to the United States where I would be reunited with my family and friends, no longer worry about not knowing how to speak the language and indulge in all the American food I had been missing. But the other half was very, very sad.

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Goodbye Florence

Detranelle, Florence, Fall 2017

Today was my last day in Florence; this entire experience seems almost unreal to me. It feels like I was struggling to drag my luggage up the stairs to my apartment just yesterday. This city has come to feel like home to me. Of course it does not replace the city where my family lives, but Florence will definitely always have a piece of my heart.

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Do Something Different in Florence This Summer

We have a few new things coming in summer 2018! Travel all of Italy with our new SUMMER C Program: Want to get the most out of your summer abroad? We combined our Summer II and III programs to create a new 6 week summer program, which includes three weeks of traveling throughout Italy before you end in Florence for a three week program.

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Celebrating a Holiday Abroad

Alexa, Florence, Fall 2017

Celebrating a holiday abroad has been one of my favorite parts of my abroad experience. It is difficult because I miss celebrating with my family and friends from home, but getting my new friends from school to celebrate with me really helps. I celebrated Halloween and my twenty-first birthday while abroad so far and plan on having Friendsgiving with my group of friends from SAI.

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Not Lost, Just off Adventuring!

Alexa, Florence, Fall 2017

Traveling on the SAI trips with entire groups of other study abroad students and people who actually know their way around the places we are visiting is great. I have been on amazing trips with SAI, however, my favorite experiences have been when I have traveled on my own or with a few of my friends. Planning trips on my own or with my roommates has been an interesting experience.

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The Last Chapter: A Florence Guide

Siobhan, Florence, Fall 2017

Thinking back on the first day I arrived in Florence feels like it could have been yesterday. The eagerness to arrive, the overwhelming excitement, the jet-lag and excruciating heat all come flooding back. At that point, it felt like I had endless amounts of time in the city of my dreams.

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Eight Useful Tips While Studying Abroad

Hailey, Florence, Fall 2017

1. Learn the language before you come. You don’t have to be a pro! However learning phrases or words just to get by is really nice to know. It comes in handy when you’re trying to meet locals, or ordering at a restaurant. Mostly everyone in Florence knows English, but there are those few that don’t, so just learn some words! 2. You don’t need to pack your whole closet!

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A Change of Pace on Cobblestone Streets

Isabel, Florence, Fall 2017

For a long time I have tied success and passion to speed and persistence. The bustling city streets I’ve walked in my youth reinforced my value for unyielding movement—of my feet, my eyes, and my mind. “Walk with a purpose” is a common, a likely overused, motto of mine. From Point A to Point B, from one class to the next, from one event to another, move with the fire and light of the city.

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Not Quite Home for the Holidays

Maddie, Florence, Fall 2017

I don’t think I realized how much I love spending Thanksgiving with my family until that wasn’t an option. To me, the day has always been about eating good food and catching up with relatives I hadn’t seen in awhile, but it was nothing special. Thanksgiving was the first time I got homesick this semester, but also the day (or week, really) during which I most appreciated my experience in Florence.

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The Davids of Florence, Ranked

Adelle, Florence, Fall 2017

Florence is a city which prides itself on its rich cultural history, particularly that of the Renaissance. Art flourished in Florence, yielding countless iconic works which draw crowds of visitors every year. Among these great works are several versions of the Biblical hero David, who came to represent Florence because of his ability to overcome seemingly impossible enemies through faith, dedication, and cleverness. Even now, Davids appear in piazzas, courtyards, and postcards across the city.

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Apicius Career Programs: what are they & are they right for you?

Marilyn, SAI Admissions Counselor

Do you like the idea of living in Florence, inarguably one of Italy’s foremost centers of cuisine, wine and hospitality? Do you like the idea of enrolling in a program focused on culinary arts, hospitality management, Italian baking and pastry or wine studies? If this sounds amazing, then perhaps enrolling in an Apicius Career Program might be a good option for you.

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The Honeymoon Phase in Florence

Siobhan, Florence, Fall 2017

Upon getting the approval from both my parents and SAI that I was admitted into Florence University of the Arts, I spent the rest of the semester at home fantasizing about what it would actually be like, walking down the cobble stone paths to class with views of the Duomo.

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The Cultural Experience

Sarah, Florence, Fall 2017

I believe that one of the most enriching experiences that I have had abroad thus far has been in my Italian Food, Culture, and Society class. I encourage anyone who goes abroad to see what classes the university offers in order to really learn about the culture in which you are living. My class has been about the way Italians interact, eat, and their history.

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5 Ways to Make Homesickness Productive

Adelle, Florence, Fall 2017

I grew up on the west coast, moving from California to Idaho, then back, then back again, and for the past two years I have been attending university all the way across the country in Washington, D.C. I’m no stranger to homesickness, to missing old haunts and familiar faces.

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Top 10 Must-See’s When Traveling Abroad

Siobhan, Florence, Fall 2017

My Top 10 List While Studying Abroad 1. Visit the Amalfi Coast in Italy Whether it is just for the day or for a weekend get-away, the Amalfi Coast is a sight worth seeing. The coast is lined with stunning Italian homes that reach the tops of the mountains. Not to mention the seafood is fresh from the ocean and tastes amazing.

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Balling on a Budget

Hailey, Florence, Fall 2017

While studying in Florence, it is so important to travel every where you possibly can! There are cheap airlines such as Air Dolomiti, RyanAir, and Air France. Honestly, what I have found to be the best ways to travel is by train. The trains in Europe are much different than the ones in the United States. They are super comfortable and clean. Looking at Italo, Trainline, Eurail, and ItaliaRail are great trains to travel on.

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Why Classes Abroad are Worth Every Penny…

Detranelle, Florence, Fall 2017

The classes I am taking in Florence are similar yet completely different from the classes I was taking back home in Virginia. The biggest difference that has caused me to enjoy my classes abroad is how hands-on the work is. The information I have learned thus far is relevant to my major and applicable in real life situations.

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Loving How to Learn Again: The Renaissance of my Education

Isabel, Florence, Fall 2017

Confessions from a professional student: I’ve been feeling stuck. Wedged between the standards of a collegiate education and personal expectations for the pursuit of knowledge, I haven’t been able to get out of my own way. Bury me in books, lock me in a room with a pen, shake me with science, and break my preconceptions with art—that’s what I would say.

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Lose Yourself and You Will Find Your Way

Abbey, SAI Ambassador

Take the trip, embrace the un-comfortability, enjoy the bewilderment-study abroad! Studying abroad may have been the most difficult thing I have ever done. 21 years of figuring life out, myself out and now a new culture is an incredible adventure. To step away from all that is familiar, to acknowledge that you will get lost mentally, emotionally and physically but that it will grow you in ways you could never imagine is daunting.

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My SAI moment was the moment I stopped leaving Florence!

Jessica, SAI Ambassador

We asked SAI alumna Jessica to tell us about her SAI Moment, a defining moment in her study abroad experience. My SAI moment was the moment I stopped leaving Florence!  When I arrived in Florence, I was shocked to learn that my peers had been planning trips long before the semester began. I felt like I was rushed to schedule trips to other countries, so I did.

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All the World has to Offer

Jamie, Florence, Spring 2017

As I am reflecting on my “fairy-tale” semester studying abroad in Florence, Italy it is challenging for me to pinpoint my favorite moment or experience. There are just too many to choose from! I guess that isn’t a bad thing right? But, if I had to pick my most special moment from my semester abroad, it would definitely be the opportunity I had to see the world.

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Roots and Wings: A Remedy for Homesickness

Isabel, Florence, Fall 2017

From the moment I entered this world, I let my parents know that their daughter had been graced with a very large appetite. Like a baby bird, my eyes stayed wide and my mouth open, hungry for food of the brain and the stomach. My appetite for life remains and the nickname “Bird” stuck around too.

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A Gluten-Free Guide to the World’s Carbiest Country

Alexa, Florence, Fall 2017

If you think being gluten-free in Italy is impossible, you are wrong; if you think it is a struggle, you are wrong; & if you think you will starve for four months, you are wrong!  Due to health reasons, I am gluten free.  So coming to Italy to study abroad raised some concerns of what I would be able to eat.

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Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone

Jamie, Florence, Spring 2017

About a year ago from today marked the start of my study abroad adventure. This time last year, I officially decided to study abroad at SAI Florence University of Arts. I was filled with mixed emotions such as excitement and apprehension. I heard endless amount of times from family and friends that studying abroad was going to be “the semester of a lifetime.

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Oh the places you’ll go… and eat!

Hailey, Florence, Fall 2017

Here is a list of some of my favorite places to eat in Florence: Caffe Firenze — This place has the best croissants in Firenze! I get a caffé latte and the croissant and it is only about 3 euro. The people who work there offer great customer service, too.

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Two Weeks Down in Florence

Detranelle, Florence, Fall 2017

Deciding to spend the first semester of my junior year in Florence, Italy was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made. Although I have been here barely more than two weeks, I can tell that I am already learning and maturing immensely. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the challenges and difficulties I have faced thus far. This semester abroad is my very first time traveling outside of the United States.

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Acclimating to Italia

Sarah, Florence, Fall 2017

Studying abroad in a foreign country didn’t really seem like a big deal to me. I’ve moved plenty of places on my own for summer internships like New York City and Milwaukee – I came to Europe on a school trip in the 10th grade.

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SAI Alumni Spotlight: Kristen

Kristen, SAI Florence Alum

We got in touch with SAI alumna Kristen Martin, who studied abroad with SAI in Florence in Fall 2016, to ask her about her experience and her life now. What have you done since studying abroad? I graduated from the University of South Carolina in December and then a month later I moved to Dallas, Texas to start my dream job! I work at Neiman Marcus as an assistant buyer in the beauty division.

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SAI Alumni Spotlight: Patrick

Patrick, SAI Florence Alum

We got in touch with SAI alumnus Patrick Sutton, who studied abroad with SAI Florence in Spring 2012, to ask him about his experience and his life now. What have you done since studying abroad? A few days after returning home from Florence, I started an internship at Paragon PR, a financial communications firm in Westfield, NJ (now headquartered in Hoboken, with an office in London).

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SAI Alumni Spotlight: Bryce

SAI Florence Alum

We got in touch with SAI alumnus Bryce Casper, who studied abroad with SAI Florence in Spring 2012, to ask him about his experience and his life now.  What have you done since studying abroad? Studying abroad in Italy made me fall in love with travel more than I could have ever imagined.

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Ten Things I Learned While Studying Abroad

Alexis, Summer 2017, Florence

I would like to share ten things that I learned while studying abroad: 1) Plan ahead – this is for the clothing of what to wear in a foreign country with cultural meaning, weather etc. Also, this can be for when traveling around and checking times of monuments, how much money to bring, etc. 2) Get some familiarity with the language of the host country before arriving.

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How to Spend a Perfect Summer Day in Florence

Alexis, Summer 2017, Florence

The perfect summer day in Florence would definitely be to start your morning, before it gets too hot, on a walk around the Duomo. To just sit with a cappuccino and croissant and watch the tourists and locals interact around such an amazing building. Then, I would go to All’Antico Vinaio for an amazing, well-spent 5 Euro panini!

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A Vegan Abroad

Anna, Florence, Summer 2017

As a young person trying to find his or her way in the world, it can be hard to stick to your values while also making the most of what life has to offer. I think this is something that we can all relate to in one way or another. In my case, my choice to be a vegan for both health and ethical reasons has posed problems (especially in the eyes of others)

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Survival Guide for your First week in Firenze

Brigitte, Florence, Spring 2017

Before leaving for Florence, every single one of my friends who went abroad told me that I was about to embark on the most exciting and eye-opening experience of my life and naturally I came in with very high expectations.

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Three Things I’ve Learned About Firenze Culture

Ellie, Florence, Spring 2017

My first week in Florence has already been one of the most eventful and life-changing weeks of my life. I find it so hard to believe I have only been here for a week! It seems like it’s been much longer because there are always so many different things to do during the day and at night.

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I Love my Apartment!

Alexis, Florence, Summer 2017

When I arrived in Florence and seen where I lived, I was blown away. I couldn’t believe how nice and spacious the apartment was. There are three bedrooms and I have my own room. There is also a full kitchen, dining room and living room. I was expecting us all to be crammed into a tiny apartment!

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Seafood Diet!

Alaysha, Florence, Spring 2017

I decided to use Spring Break as the perfect opportunity to pig out and try new foods from each destination that I traveled to in Portugal and Spain. The first restaurant that we dined at during our travels was located in Lisbon. If you didn’t already know these countries are somewhat known for their seafood and aquatic dishes, so my friends and I came here with the intention of grabbing some at every destination.

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Growing Pains and Catching Trains

Madison, Florence, Spring 2017

If you asked me a year ago from now if I ever saw myself living in a foreign country for an entire semester, away from everything I know and that is comfortable to me, I may have looked at you as if you were crazy. Little did I know that when I took the leap of faith to study abroad in Florence, Italy, that I was making the best decision of my entire life.

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Italian Coffee Lesson 101

Christy, SAI Florence

Italians love their coffee, and each person likes it in their own particular way. There are probably hundreds of different ways to order coffee here. All coffee drinks in Italy consist more or less of simple ingredients: espresso and milk. The True Classics: un caffè: single shot of espresso.

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Friendships That Will Last A Lifetime

Chloe, Florence, Spring 2017

Being abroad has been the experience of a lifetime, but nothing has been better than the friends I have met along the way and the friendships I will now hold for a lifetime.

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FLY: BeGiuls, Be You Springtime Launch Party

Luz, Florence, Spring 2017

Fashion Loves You (FLY) is a boutique inside the school of Fashion and Accessory Studies and Technology (FAST) at FUA. It is a vintage store that also sells emerging designers’ work as well as students’ work. The latest FLY Event featured BeGiuls, an emerging fashion designer located in Florence, a live photo shoot, a gourmet aperitivo and a special exhibition of the garments created in Florence University of the Arts’ Apparel Design class.

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Must Do Things In and Around Florence

Brigitte, Florence, Spring 2017

After living in Florence for a little over 2 months I’ve come to really appreciate everything that it has to offer, especially the small not well known secrets of the city. To begin with, we will start with the panino topic. After traveling to other Italian cities I’ve noticed that no other place has panini like Florence, it’s one of their specialties!

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10 Reasons why Florence is the Best Place to Study Abroad

Brigitte, Florence, Spring 2017

These are my 10 Reasons why Florence is the Best Place to Study Abroad: Best gelato It’s no surprise that Florence has the best gelato in Italy (and in Europe), considering the fact that it was invented in Florence! I think that this is on the top three things of what I’m going to miss the most about Florence.

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Back Home

Kara, Florence, Spring 2017

My last blog post talked about some of the ins and outs of my overall study abroad experience, since my time to go home was quickly approaching. Fast-forward, I have been home for just over a week now, and personally, it is crazy to think that I spent the last three months living in Europe. In all honesty, it almost feels like it didn’t happen!

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Interning at FLY

Alaysha, Florence, Spring 2017

For the spring semester in Florence, I was given the opportunity to intern at FLY. FLY, which stands for fashion loves you, is a non-profit clothing store ran an operated by the students and faculty in the Fashion and Accessories Studies and Technology programs at Florence University of the Arts.

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Florence Food Bucket List for Abroad Students

Eleanor, Florence, Spring 2017

As I become more and more familiar with my surroundings around Florence, I have found some amazing cafés, restaurants, and gelaterias that I feel are an absolute must for abroad students to try in their time here. Of course there are still so many hidden places I need to hunt down, but so far here are 10 of my favorite go-to places I have found in my time here! 1.

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Lake Garda: The Path Less Traveled

Miranda, SAI Ambassador

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” This popular quote by Robert Frost has inspired many to go off the beaten path and see what treasures they may find. As studying abroad becomes increasingly popular with university students, I find it imperative to maintain the original purpose behind the experience.

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A Day in the Life of SAI Florence

Lily, Florence, Spring 2017

We handed over our Instagram account to Lily for the day. This is her day in Florence. Hey peeps it’s Lily Herring from Florence University of the Arts in Florence, Italy comin’ at you today with an Instagram takeover of SAIprograms for an inside look into the day to day life of a study abroad student.

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Positano and Capri

Cleary, Florence, Spring 2017

This weekend I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Amalfi coast and explore the towns of Positano, Capri, Anacapri, and Pompeii. I have to say I was not too excited to begin with because my good friend could no longer make the trip with me so I had to venture solo.

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Traveling Internationally Brought my Family Closer Together

Halie, SAI Ambassador

One aspect that made my Study Abroad Experience so unique and special was when my family came to visit me during Spring Break. A break from classes, and reuniting with my family was much needed, as I was beginning to feel the effects of homesickness and that middle of the semester slump we all know so well.

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An Explosive Easter in Florence

Chiara, SAI Staff

Every year on Easter Sunday, Florence explodes (literally) in celebration, and it’s not to be missed. The Scoppio del Carro, or Explosion of the Cart, is a tradition dating back over 350 years that attracts large crowds to the Piazza del Duomo in downtown Florence.

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Presento i Miei Amici Fiore e Alessio!

Chloe, Florence, Spring 2017

The very first night in Florence, my roommate Emma and I decided to go out and experience the exciting nightlife the city has to offer. Little did we know we were going to meet a few locals who are now two of our really good friends. At one of the more well known clubs, Space, my roommate, Emma, and I were approached on the dance floor by two gentlemen who began speaking Italiano to us.

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Things I’ve Learned So Far from a Semester Abroad

Jessica, Florence, Spring 2017

While by no means exhaustive, the following list is a compilation of lessons learned and tips I would give for a semester abroad: 1. (And therefore the most important) You can never have too much gelato. Stressful test? Get some gelato. You walked a long way and are hot and tired? Get some gelato. Meeting up with friends? Get some gelato. Just passed a good-looking gelateria? Get some gelato.

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Alumni Voices: NYC Menswear Designer Dominic Sondag

When Dominic Sondag first arrived in Florence with SAI Programs in August of 2009, he knew he always dreamed of becoming a fashion designer.  It was within the classroom walls of an Italian palazzo in Florence’s historical center where his dream started to seem more like a career he could pursue.  After a year of perfecting his skills at Florence University of the Arts (FUA)

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A Fresh Perspective

Madison, Florence, Spring 2017

My time abroad in Florence has been incredible thus far and I have loved documenting my travels, but for this blog post, I decided to interview someone else to hear their perspective on being abroad. With that being said, I interviewed my roommate, and also fellow SAI student, Shelby S. about her experiences. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

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Nearing the End

Kara, Florence, Spring 2017

Being a “quarter” student for SAI, my student abroad time ends mid-April, instead of mid-May, like many other students doing the full term. I remember looking back at my Delta Airlines app on my phone, out of curiosity, to see how many days it said until I could check in for my return flight…it said 80 some days. Now, it says 15, and I know those are going to absolutely fly by.

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Discover Italy

Nancy, Spring 2017, Florence

Weekend trips! Stressful am I right? Not one week had passed when I started hearing my classmates talk about how they had every single weekend booked until May. I was in shock. I hadn’t even thought what I was going to eat for dinner that night much less what cities/countries I wanted to visit. It was sad to see how eager students were to leave Italy.

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A Few “Most-Dos”

Kara, Florence, Spring 2017

After being in Florence for about a month now, there are definitely a few things I would put on a “must-do” list. First and foremost, take a cooking class. SAI has cooking classes offered throughout the semester, and they’re great, especially because you just have to put a small deposit down, and you get that back when you show up! Basically free – we all know college kids can’t pass up free.

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Quick and Easy Travel Tips

Chloe, Florence, Spring 2017

When applying for a study abroad program, I made sure to pick my dream destination, Florence, Italy. I knew coming to Florence would be an adventure in itself, and that the city would have a lot to offer. Luckily, Florence is in a great location and is surrounded by many other beautiful cities and countries.

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My Absolute Favorite Class Right Now

Alaysha, Florence, Spring 2017

One of my favorite classes so far this semester has to hands down be my Introduction to Fashion Photography class. It’s only been a month and I’ve already learned so much that it makes me really excited to see what the rest of the semester has in store! I remember saving for months so that I could finally buy this beautiful Nikon DSLR camera with an LCD swivel screen.

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Travels Gone Wrong

Eleanor, Florence, Spring 2017

Traveling around Europe is something I was extremely nervous about coming into this semester. I have a terrible sense of direction, don’t speak other languages very well, and have a tendency to break down in stressful situations. It turns out those three things really don’t mix well when something goes wrong during traveling.

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Contemporary Art in Florence

Regan, SAI Florence

When you think of Florence, what comes to mind is probably the architecture of Filippo Brunelleschi, the sculptures by Michelangelo Buonarroti, the incredible collections of paintings in the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Pitti, and important frescoes in many of the churches in the city. What we view today as historically important records of human thought made manifest in art and architecture, were in their time, contemporary.

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Traveling While Abroad: My Top 5 Tips

Margarette-Ruth, Florence, Spring 2017

Studying abroad and becoming engulfed in another culture is such an amazing experience. On top of that, it provides an opportunity to get to see more than just your host country. Traveling while abroad can be so excited but also so stressful! I’ve compiled a list of my best tips for seamless travel abroad. 1.

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Tips to Tasteful Travel

Brigitte, Florence, Spring 2017

If you ever find yourself in Florence, you’ll see that there are thousands of places to get food. So many people make the mistake of spending their money on the tourist spots and miss out on the tastiest hidden treasures of Florence. Here are some of the tips and tricks to finding the perfect hole in the wall and authentic Florentine food—organized by category of course!

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Parli Inglese? Do you speak English?

Alaysha, Florence, Spring 2017

My first week in Florence consisted of basically three things: getting lost, getting gelato and getting a lot of Italian pronunciations wrong! I started my travels on January 23, 2017. I said goodbye to my family and boarded the first of 3 connecting flights to Florence, Italy! I had been saving my whole college career for this opportunity and I couldn’t wait to just get there already.  The plane ride went surprisingly well.

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Pompeii

Luz, Florence, Spring 2017

Last weekend, I took a trip to Napoli (Naples) with my roommates. I was very excited to go because everybody I talked to about my weekend plans got very excited for me as well! And, because Napoli is the birthplace of pizza, we received plenty of pizzeria recommendations. It was also my first time to the ocean! What I first noticed about Naples is the vibrant and youthful atmosphere.

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Summer Rain

Evan, SAI Ambassador

It was last June, and I was walking back from Piazzale Michelangelo on the afternoon of my twenty first birthday. It was raining, then suddenly pouring, in broad daylight, and every student on the tour seized cover under roof overhangs and storefront awnings. On the street, Italians walked unabated through the summer shower. The boys and girls got separated, and me and Pietro, our Florentine tour guide, were stuck under a leaking gutter.

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My Ten Favorite Things to do in Florence

Madison, Florence, Spring 2017

I have lived in Florence, Italy, for just about a month now, and I have fallen in love with all the incredible sights and activities this city has to offer. Although I cannot say I have experienced everything yet, here is a list of my 10 favorite things to do in Florence thus far. 1. Visiting Piazzale Michelangelo. Fortunately for my roommates and I, we live a very short distance from Piazzale Michelangelo.

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Peaking in Switzerland

Cleary, Florence, Spring 2017

Wow, I learned a lot about myself in the short time I was able to explore the Swiss Alps. I have never felt so light and free. I am in Switzerland and peaking in life. This is the most visceral connection I have ever had to a land. If there is a god out there, please let this be my eternal resting place.

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Florentine Sorpresa!

Luz, Florence, Spring 2017

The first impression I had of Florence occurred to me as I was leaving the airport upon my arrival. Right away, I noticed the similarities between the suburbs of Florence and my home country, Mexico, which I was recently in. The city’s infrastructure, streets, driving style, and buildings were very similar. Even the language, Italian, printed on murals and advertisements was almost identical to Spanish. It gave me an advantage and a feeling of comfort.

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The Art of Food and Drink in Florence

Bonnie, Florence, Summer 2016

Italians take pride in their food and fine wines. Whether you stumble upon tiny cafes or street restaurants, Italy is full of extraordinary and unique places to dine. While my summer abroad in Florence, I had the chance to discover some of these treasures for myself. It did not take me long to discover that the Italians truly have a way with how they choose to display food and drink.

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Sweet Beginnings

Nancy, Florence, Spring 2017

I have never worked harder for anything in my life like I did for this study abroad trip. I spent a year doing scholarship applications, working at my work-study job everyday, and helping my siblings with anything for a couple bucks. I had several departure meetings at school and interviews to prepare for this amazing trip.

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Preparing & Adjusting: Welcome to Florence

Kara, Florence, Spring 2017

Preparing to go abroad is one of the most exciting times in the process, but can also be stressful and overwhelming. No matter how many blogs you read, or people you talk to, it is difficult to know just how prepared you are, and how you will adjust to your new home. I will admit, I had my fair share of meltdowns in the weeks before departing for Florence.

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A Potential Solution to Your Luggage Woes

Halie, Student Ambassador

Love to travel, but hate the stress and hassle of having to pack for a long trip? Well, flying suitcase-free to your favorite European destinations could be a thing of the future, according to the market research group Euromonitor.

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A Semester of Simple Pleasures

Lauren, SAI Ambassador

Have you ever gotten excited over a tiny cup of espresso?, A freshly baked croissant from your favorite secret bakery?, A lemon the size of your head?, or a 1 euro scoop of gelato? If you answered yes to any of these I think we may have a lot in common! Coming from a big city like New York I sometimes find it hard to take joy in life’s simple pleasures.

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Fun in Firenze

Madison, Florence, Spring 2017

I have lived in a small town in Washington State my whole life. It is a quaint little town that even people born and raised in Washington have never heard of before. I love where I am from more than anything, but being that I’ve hardly traveled outside of the United States and away from my hometown, I knew I had to go out and see the world.

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A Thank You Letter to Florence

Esperanza, Florence, Fall 2016

A Letter to Florence, Thank you.  Thank you for being my home away from home. You were my little bubble of safe haven in Europe. Every weekend I traveled to another country, I would always get really excited to return to you. Thank you for never disappointing me. You provided me with so much . There was so much art, history, and culture right at my fingertips every single day.

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Returning for the Holidays: A Year Removed

Adam, Student Ambassador

It has been a year since I have had a taste of the great Italian culture in Florence, Italy. I was fortunate enough to live there for almost four months last fall. I traveled to seven countries and countless cities across Europe. It was amazing. However, while I was traveling it never crossed my mind how difficult it would be to explain to my family how truly great all of my adventures were.

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Abroad Reflection

Emily, Florence, Fall 2016

After the dozens of weekend trips, studying for finals, and packing away everything from the past four months, it’s finally time to go back to the United States. It’s difficult to summarize all the amazing experiences, memories, and friends that I have made while abroad.  During these past four months, I’ve experienced some of the most beautiful places and have gotten to live in a European culture.

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High Fives Around Europe / Video

Erin, Florence, Fall 2016

We can’t get enough of Erin Pachter’s creative video of her semester abroad. She studied with SAI in Florence Fall 2016, and visited so many beautiful places! I had previously seen a video like this on YouTube and I really enjoyed it. I knew going into my trip that I wanted to make a video like this because it would show and remind me of all the adventures I had traveling.

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“Tell Me a Story”

Danielle, Student Ambassador

Studying abroad as a fashion merchandising student was an amazing opportunity for me. I took a visual merchandising class during my time abroad, which is something that I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. My professor was so knowledgeable and really sparked my interest even more about the visual aspects of the fashion industry. Our class final project was called “Tell Me a Story.

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Doggie on Alfani

Evan, SAI Ambassador

There was a dog I never met in Florence. He was a little guy, mostly white with some ink splotches, and he had a hard time walking. Yet his owner, upright and undeterred, would walk him down a street near mine whenever night fell. During my time attending FUA this summer, seeing that dog and his patient owner was as much a nightly routine for me as walking seemed to be for them.

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A Day in the Culinary City of Florence

Miranda, SAI Ambassador

One of the main things that draws tourists to Florence and Italy in general is the promise of delicious food. From tiny cafés to sidewalk restaurants, Florence has so much to offer in terms of food that it can get overwhelming to decide where to go! While studying abroad in Florence, I had the opportunity to explore the streets to find my favorite places to eat for every meal.

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What To Do When You Leave The Classroom

Brooke, Florence, Fall 2016

“There’s no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this” – Unknown The best thing about studying in Florence Italy this fall is that not only am I baking my dreams come true in the kitchen but also my horizon is expanding and nothing but a growing curiosity for adventure and knowledge is left. There is so much more to experience than just classes when studying abroad!

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Top 10 Things to do in Florence!

Esperanza, Florence, Fall 2016

1. Get Gelato My favorite thing about Italy is the amazing gelato. There are so many different little gelato shops, and they all have different flavors! Honestly, you cannot go wrong with any choice of gelato shops. There is a gelato shop where they serve you gelato and decorate it as a flower; the shop is called Amorino. 2. Eat at a local restaurant There are so many options for yummy restaurants in town!

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Love To Be Lost

Heather, Florence, Fall 2015

In the normal world, being lost is not a good thing; it is to be avoided at all costs. However, during your abroad experience, I would suggest you do get lost in your new city. (Of course make sure you have the right tools to find your way back home if you get really lost; I would suggest CityMaps).

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Fall in Firenze

Brooke, Florence, Fall 2016

So it’s officially fall in Firenze! Yes that means it is COLD, oh and rainy! Okay so it’s not really that bad……. But if you plan on traveling to Florence (which I completely support), bring a good jacket and umbrella. Remember to carry your umbrella with you. If you are like me, you won’t think about your umbrella until you are soaking wet walking through Florence.

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Tips For Traveling While Abroad

Emily, Florence, Fall 2016

Do your research! Always do your research before your trips. Look into what airport or train station you are arriving in and how far that is from where you are staying. Research the area that you are going. Research transportation from the train station to your hotel or where ever you are staying. (Some places have Uber).

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Top 10 Things to do in Firenze

Hannah, Florence, Fall 2016

Now that I have been in Florence for about a month and a half, I have definitely picked out some of my favorite things to see, places to go, and things to do. I did my best to compile a list of just 10 of these to share with all of you. The following are in no specific order: 1.

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Top 10 Things to do in Florence

Emily, Florence, Fall 2016

1. Enjoy wine and watch the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo. It is very touristy so my recommendation is to get there early (before the sun sets) to get a good seat. 2. Shop and watch local street entertainment at the Piazza della Repubblica. Enjoy shops from fast fashion stores like Zara to luxury shops like Gucci. There are some of the best places to enjoy dinner with an amazing view.

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A Day in the Life of SAI Florence

Hannah, Florence, Fall 2016

We handed over our Instagram account to Hannah for the day. This is her day in Florence (October 12, 2016). Hello! My name is Hannah Latham and I will be taking over this account for the day to show you my typical day in Florence! I am from Grand Rapids, Michigan and am currently a junior attending Florence University of the Arts but back home I go to Carthage College in Wisconsin and study Neuroscience.

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SAI Excursion Vlog

Jessica, Florence, Fall 2016

Jessica takes us along as she tastes wine in Bolgheri, swims in the warm waters of the Isola del Giglio and hikes around archaeological sites on the SAI program inclusive weekend excursion to Maremma and the Tuscan Islands. ___ Jessica is a current student at Georgia State University studying at the Florence University of the Arts, Italy during the Fall 2016 term.

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Surviving My First Week Abroad

Emily, Florence, Fall 2016

From the moment I left the airport, I knew that the next four months were going to be full of many first foreign adventures for me. Going to Europe was the first foreign step I was taking. There were so many emotions that I was feeling as I stepped on the plane from Boston to Zurich, Switzerland and then to Florence, Italy.

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So Much Prettier

Esperanza, Florence, Fall 2016

My first impression of Italy was OH MY GOODNESS! EVERYTHING IS SO PRETTY!! That was literally my thoughts about every building as the shuttle drove me to my apartment. Everything is so big and different, and so much prettier compared to my hometown.

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The Start of Everything New!

Brooke, Florence, Fall 2016

You never truly know what to expect when you leave everything you know to study in a different country. A couple of weeks ago I made that leap of faith and came to Florence, Italy for a semester abroad! I have only been here for a short time but, besides the fact that I still find myself lost a majority of the time, it is starting to feel like I have been here for months!

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Seeing Art through a New Lens

Cole, Florence, Summer 2016

Despite my rather small sampling size of classes in Florence, I am going to break down the major differences and similarities in my experience at an art school in Florence versus an art school in America. Here in Italy I have completed Watercolor and Sketchbooking Florence, and am currently in Street Photography. First and foremost is the art of course.

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Architectural Masterpieces to Street Art Treasures

Cole, Florence, Summer 2016

First and foremost, the food in Florence is finger-licking good. Jumping from dorm food, to fresh, succulent Italian cuisine, my stomach has yet to experience any symptoms of culture shock. From, a nice, affordable three course meal at Osteria de Pazzi, to greasy, late night pizza at Fo’Caccia la Notte, my tastebuds continue to be pleased. I also think it is worthy to note taste tasting gelato has been integrated into my daily routine.

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Volunteering Abroad

Ashley, Florence, Spring 2016

This semester is coming to a close and unfortunately I have to say goodbye to this city I have fallen in love with. Florence is a small city that I have been able to spend the past four months exploring and learning from. Everywhere you go is beautiful and a piece of history and sometimes it needs to have a little cleaning.

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Time to say Goodbye

Olivia, Florence, Spring 2016

It has come down to our final days here in Florence. We are saying bye to our friends, the delicious food, and the amazing city we have been able to call home for 4 months. Leaving is becoming harder everyday because I have built a life here and created memories I will never be able to experience again.

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How the Past 100 Days Have Changed my Life

Jenica, Florence, Spring 2016

When I arrived in Florence back in January, I remember being absolutely terrified. I had never left the country let alone by myself and I had never been away from home for longer than a month. I remember walking around that very first day thinking what am I doing here since everything was so foreign and different to me. Those first few weeks were very difficult to say the least.

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Nowhere to Go and All Day to Get There

Sheena, Florence, Spring 2016

My typical day as a travel abroad student consists of usually meeting with my Italian chat pal Alessia. We practice our Italian and I help her with her English. We always get coffee, Paninis, or gelato. Sometimes I check out the events and excursion sign-up through my SAI program. –Take advantage of these!

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A Recap of My Best Semester

Noah, Florence, Spring 2016

Well, what once looked like a distant possibility is now over. For many months, I was stressing about finding the perfect program, then coordinating meetings between different departments at Tufts trying to receive course credit, and finally attaining meetings with my Dean to understand my options if I couldn’t achieve said credit. This was over six months ago before I set off on my first (or maybe it’s my second) study abroad experience.

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Where I Call Home

Noah, Florence, Spring 2016

There’s a really incredible charm about Florence. When I arrived the first day, I could feel it when I walked to my apartment or went to the grocery store. Everyday since, I’ve known there’s something special about Florence, but it took me a long time to figure out exactly what it was. Traveling to other cities helped my search.

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Exploring Florence Inside and Out

Jenica, Florence, Spring 2016

These past two and a half months have been the time of my life. Florence has quickly become a part of me, somewhere that I know leaving will be very difficult.

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My Ten Favorite Places In Florence

Ashley, Florence, Spring 2016

These are many places I frequent in Florence. From a café, to one of the squares, I try to spend as much time as possible exploring this city that I have come to call my new home. It is crazy to think that I have been here almost three months and only have one remaining.

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A Day in the Life of SAI Florence

Olivia, Florence, Spring 2016

Ciao! My name is Olivia Mendoza and I am studying at SAI in Florence. I will be taking over the Instagram today and sharing a day in my life here. I am from Los Angeles, California, but go to school in Texas at Baylor University. This is a picture taken at Giardino di Pratolino during a spur of the moment picnic with my roommate!

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A Day in the Life of SAI Florence

Annalise, Florence, Spring 2016

We handed over our Instagram to a few students this month and asked them to take us through their day in their host city. This is Annalise’s day in Florence (April 6, 2016). Ciao Ciao! My name is Annalise Andriacchi and I’ll be taking you around Florence today to show you what it’s like to live “a day in the life of an SAI student”. A bit about myself: I am a junior studying Hospitality Management at the University of Missouri.

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A Day in the Life of SAI Florence

Ashley, Florence, Spring 2016

We handed over our Instagram to a few students this month and asked them to take us through their day in their host city. This is Ashley’s day in Florence (March 29, 2016). Ciao! My name is Ashley Shealor, I’m from Charleston, South Carolina and a Junior at University of South Carolina, currently studying at FUA in Florence, Italy!

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Home Sweet Home?

Annalise, Florence, Spring 2016

“It’s the time of your life!! You will never want to come back to America!! You’re going to fall in love with places you’ve never been to and people you haven’t met! You are going to find yourself and this experience is going to change your life!” These are some of the things former study abroad students tell you about going abroad…. Am I right?

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A Wonderful Life in Florence

Olivia, Florence, Spring 2016

My journey getting to Florence was a long, hauled out, highly anticipated journey. When I told my study abroad counselor 1 year ago I wanted to study abroad in Florence during the spring semester, he told me I was too early and to come back in the fall semester when applications actually opened. I have known since the beginning of college that I wanted to come to Italy.

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A Day in the Life of SAI Florence

Jenica, Florence, Spring 2016

We handed over our Instagram to a few students this month and asked them to take us through their day in their host city. This is Jenica’s day in Florence (March 17, 2016). Buongiorno!My name is Jenica Sounart and I’ll be taking over for the day! I am currently a sophomore studying Hospitality Management at Colorado State University & am here in Florence as a culinary arts student. Today is my last day before Intersession (spring break)

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Different on the Daily

Sheena, Florence, Spring 2016

Just as there are some differences between the states of Wisconsin and New York there are tons of differences between countries like Florence and the United States. Whether I love the differences or can barely stand them I have to embrace every second of it because there is no changing culture and to rebel would be rude, look silly, and would be a waste of time.

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A Day in the Life of SAI Florence

Noah, Florence, Spring 2016

We handed over our Instagram to a few students this month and asked them to take us through their day in their host city. This is Noah’s day in Florence (March 14, 2016). Good morning! My name is Noah and today I will taking over the SAI Instagram to show you what my day is like in Florence! This is the view from my front door.

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From Denver to Florence

Jenica, Florence, Spring 2016

After months of anticipation and planning, January 25th 2016 finally came around, the day I left for my study abroad experience in Florence, Italy. Looking back at the day I left and my travel here I would say the hardest part was saying goodbyes to family and friends in person.

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Home Sweet Home? Home Sweet Home!

Annalise, Florence, Spring 2016

“It’s the time of your life!! You will never want to come back to America!! You’re going to fall in love with places you’ve never been to and people you haven’t met! You are going to find yourself and this experience is going to change your life!” These are some of the things former study abroad students tell you about going abroad…. Am I right?

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Everything’s New

Noah, Florence, Spring 2016

Dear Mom, It’s already been about two weeks since I arrived in Florence and a lot has happened. I’ve met new roommates; I’ve changed my diet (quite a bit of pasta and pizza); I’ve walked more than I ever imagined; and I’ve started new classes to name a few things. Throughout, there have been the ups and the downs.

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These are Crucial, Believe Me.

Ashley, Florence, Spring 2016

I am going to give you some insight into the 10 things I learned my first week studying abroad. Before I came abroad I thought people were over exaggerating experiences and information, but boy was I wrong. So if you are thinking about going abroad here are some things I picked up really quickly. 1. You walk… A LOT.

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Am I Allowed to Stay Forever?

Olivia, Spring 2016

I’ve only been in Florence for a week and I already want to live here for the rest of my life. The people, the city, and the lifestyle, all of it is wonderful! From the first day of living in this bustling city, I’ve noticed some very obvious cultural differences both great and a somewhat strange. 1.

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Florence Firsts

Sheena, Spring 2016

My journey to Florence, Italy, started on Monday, January 25th. Because I had never been to an airport, I was a little nervous to embark on the trip all alone. Luckily, I met a girl named Ellen, who was in the same program and going to the same place I was. We met up at the gate to board and all my nerves were calmed.

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A Guide to Finding the Best Eats in Florence

Kaela, SAI Ambassador

When I think of Italy, all I imagine is the amazing pasta, bruschetta, pizza, gelato, and wine that are consumed daily.  When friends and family heard I would be studying abroad in the heart of Italy – Florence – they would all coo about the mouth-watering food.  After living in Florence for 4.

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Feeling Alive – Bike Rides to Fiesole

Jessica, SAI Ambassador

Perhaps the happiest and most alive I have ever felt was when I would go on bike rides to Fiesole. There were all of these fliers that SAI had provided my roommates and me with in our apartment. One of them was for Tuscany Cycle where one could rent bikes, go on bike tours, and Vespa tours through the Tuscan hillside and Chianti. I went one day early on in my semester abroad.

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15 Best Things About Studying Abroad in Florence

Jake, Florence, Fall 2015

THE MUSEUMS 1. The Uffizi Gallery: An amazing art collection established in 1581. Get lost among the masterpieces of the  Renaissance and Baroque. 2. Galleria dell’Accademia: Originally intended to be a Michelangelo museum, the Accademia is now home to the original David, along with several other of the artist’s works. The museum also boasts a large collection of Gothic and Renaissance paintings. 3. Palazzo Vecchio: The seat of the Florentine government since its construction in the 14th century.

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10 Confessions of an Americana

Mariam, Florence, Fall 2015

I’ve undergone more changes and matured faster in the past 4 months than in the past 4 years in college. Yes, that’s a very bold statement, but it’s true. Coming to Florence was a huge breath of fresh air. I was initially so happy to be out of my hometown, Bethesda, which was quite homogenous and filled with type A, semi-pretentious and ambitious liberals.

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Meet our Blogger: Taylor

Florence, Spring 2016

Taylor was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2016 term. She is a current student at Washington State University studying at Florence University of the Arts in Italy, during the Spring 2016 term. 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT TAYLOR 1. I am scuba certified through NAUI. 2. I have bottle fed twin calves for a month (their names were Greg and Bridget). 3. I was president of my sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma as a sophomore. 4.

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Meet our Blogger: Jenica

Florence, Spring 2016

Jenica was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2016 term. She is a current student at Colorado State University studying at Florence University of the Arts in Italy, during the Spring 2016 term. 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT JENICA I love anything related to food. Cooking it, eating it, learning about it, I’d say food occupies my mind most of the day. I believe God has a purpose for each and every one of us (Romans 8:28).

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Meet our Blogger: Noah

Florence, Spring 2016

Noah was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2016 term. He is a current student at Tufts University studying at Florence University of the Arts in Italy, during the Spring 2016 term. 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT NOAH I love going on adventures, whether that’s hiking up a ravine and skiing with my family (see the picture) or finding one-of-a-kind pizza places with my friends. I love skiing and surfing, baseball and soccer, and golf.

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Meet our Blogger: Melissa

Rome, Spring 2016

Melissa was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2016 term. She is a current student at St. Norbert College studying at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy, during the Spring 2016 term. 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT MELISSA 1. I am from a small town in Wisconsin 2. I am left-handed 3. I have been to Zambia and South Africa for a humanitarian trip 4. I used to work at Lambeau Field 5.

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12 Things I Learned While Studying Abroad

Alvaro, Florence, Fall 2015

Studying abroad, a story of how a man became a boy….Just kidding, it’s not that deep, these are the 12 things that I learned while studying abroad.  1. Experiencing a variety of cultures makes me ask more questions about the world. Did you know that the United States is not the center of the universe? If you would have asked me this question three months ago my head would’ve exploded in disbelief. 2.

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Meet our Blogger: Sheena

Florence, Spring 2016

Sheena was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2016 term. She is a current student at Carroll University studying at Florence University of the Arts in Florence, Italy during the Spring 2016 term. 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT SHEENA 1. I have never seen an airplane up close nor the ocean. 2. I dislike wearing socks and prefer to go barefoot. 3. I danced for 13 years. 4. The smell of sandalwood is wonderful.

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Your Guide to Florence

Caitlin, SAI Ambassador

As we wrap up the end of the fall semester, I am feeling so much jealousy for all of you who are getting ready to study abroad in Florence in the spring. Don’t worry, I’m also really excited for you, but I remember this time last year, getting ready, packing, getting my visa figured out. It’s a lot, but it’s absolutely worth it.

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Meet our Blogger: Hylen

Florence, Spring 2016

Hylen was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2016 term. She is a current student at Washington State University studying at Florence University of the Arts in Florence, Italy during the Spring 2016 term. 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT HYLEN I value my family and friends highly and dear to my heart, I would do anything for them.

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Firenze: My Home Away From Home

Michaela, Florence, Fall 2015

It wasn’t until after I came home from fall break did I feel like Florence was my home. Before leaving for break I didn’t feel as if the city was a part of me yet, or if there was really anything about it that would ever rail me back in later on in life.

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7 Essential Tips for the BEST Fall Break!

Mariam, Florence, Fall 2015

I made the slightly stupid but still courageous decision to plan my own Fall break with my roommate and another friend. It’s a great experience; it forces you to plan the details and rely on yourself (plus other students going with you). 1. Do NOT book overnight travel— (past 1 am – before 6 am). Europe doesn’t operate that smoothly after hours, especially not Italy.

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Meet our Blogger: Olivia

Florence, Spring 2016

Olivia was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2016 term. She is a current student at Baylor University studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy during the Spring 2016 term. 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT OLIVIA 1. I am a Junior Speech Pathology major at Baylor University, which I absolutely love. A passion of mine is working with special needs children, which I hope to do after I graduate. 2.

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9 Daily Reminders

Madelaine, Florence, Fall 2015

1. Remember your goals Why did you choose to come to this country? What were you looking to discover? I find it helpful to continually remind myself of my original goals. Are there any goals that you have yet to complete? Each day, you are able to make the choice to work towards them. “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler 2.

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Meet our Blogger: Ashley

Florence, Spring 2016

Ashley was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2016 term. She is a current student at University of South Carolina studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy during the Spring 2016 term. 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT ASHLEY I go to USC and am a Public Health Major. I am from the South but don’t like grits or sweet tea. I have twin sisters. I suffer from a diet coke addiction.

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Meet our Blogger: Annalise

Florence, Spring 2016

Annalise was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2016 term. She is a current student at University of Missouri studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy during the Spring 2016 term. 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT ANNALISE I attend the University of Missouri (Mizzou) and am a Hospitality Management major (Conference and Events) with a Business minor.

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Heard it Through the Grapevine

Madelaine, Florence, Fall 2015

The past month and a half has consisted of moments of excitement, amazement, nervousness, and adventure. Make it a routine to try new things, go new places, and meet new people. Seek things that you are interested in and curious about. Allow yourself to wander into unfamiliar parts of town, where you might just find your next favorite spot.

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My Favorite Places in Florence

Jake, Florence, Fall 2015

FOOD 1. Osteria Santo Spirito. Piazza Santo Spirito, 16/R I have gone here six or seven times and it has been great every time. This place is very cheap, with primi piatti pasta dishes for as little as 5 Euro for a big portion. 2. All’Antico Vinaio. Via dei Neri, 74/R The best panini in Florence. All’Antico Vanaio is famous.

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3 Days in France With 21 Euros

Mariam, Florence, Fall 2015

I know student budgets are tight, but traveling is the most rewarding way to spend your money. Seriously, take off your pizza-stained hoody and explore Florence. Take impromptu bus and train trips around Italy and plan weekends in Barcelona, or Côte d’Azur, or Dublin. You’re never going to be 20-something again, studying in a foreign country and building friendships that could easily last the rest of your life.

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A Day in the Life of SAI Florence

Alvaro, Florence, Fall 2015

We handed over our Instagram to a few students this month and asked them to take us through their day in their host city. This is Alvaro’s day in Florence (October 15, 2015). Hello everyone! My name is Álvaro Castro Cid, I am currently a Senior at Colorado State University and a proud native Coloradan. Currently I am attending Florence University of the Arts in Firenze, Italia!

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Florentine Daze

Madelaine, Florence, Fall 2015

This past weekend I travelled to Rimini, a beach town on the Adriatic, to meet a friend from my home university who is studying in Turin. Being such a distance from home, I felt a level of independence I have never experienced before. I navigated the foreign train stations with delays, connections, and all. While traveling, I realized that trains in Italy are very often late, sometimes in your favor, sometimes not.

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New Life in Firenze

Michaela, Florence, Fall 2015

It’s been 12 days since I’ve moved to Florence (Firenze) and there are all sorts of emotions going through my head. For once in my life I feel homesick, often. How am I feeling homesick in a city that’s so beautiful, full of culture and places to discover, a place that feels so right? Well, even I cannot give you that answer.

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5 Tips For Your First Two Weeks

Jake, Florence, Fall 2015

1. Make yourself at home. This place is going to be your home for the next few months, so start acting like it right away! Get acclimated to your surroundings by exploring the neighborhood around your apartment. Spend the first few days checking out the local restaurants and shops.

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How to Survive Firenze: 10 Tips

Mariam, Florence, Fall 2015

Okay, so you’re in a new country, you barely know the language, or the customs. How quickly can you adjust? There’s no specific time limit or methodology to how you can best orient yourself when moving to another country, but those first few days are the most crucial.

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Firenze… OMG, What Did I Get Myself Into?

Alvaro, Florence, Fall 2015

How are things different from my culture? 1. I have read about Florence in quite a few books, but man is experiencing it first hand a whole other experience. One of the largest differences that I have noticed between American and Italian culture is that Americans are (or at least they try to be) obsessed with order. Italians seem to be more about going with the flow.

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Meet our Blogger: Mariam

Florence, Fall 2015

Mariam was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Fall 2015 term. She is a current student at George Washington University studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy during the Fall 2015 term. GET TO KNOW MARIAM Tell us why you chose to study abroad. I chose to study abroad because I’ve always imagined traveling to Europe, but I’ve never been able to find the right time or proper finances to go.

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Meet Our Blogger: Michaela

Florence, Fall 2015

Michaela was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Fall 2015 term. She is a current student at Lasell College studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy during the Fall 2015 term. GET TO KNOW MICHAELA Tell us why you chose to study abroad. Since I can remember I have always been intrigued by travel and experiencing different cultures first hand.

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Meet Our Blogger: Madelaine

Florence, Fall 2015

Madeline was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Fall 2015 term. She is a current student at College of Charleston studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy during the Fall 2015 term. ABOUT ME Tell us why you chose to study abroad. Three years ago, when I entered my freshman year at the College of Charleston, I absolutely knew that I wanted to study abroad.

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Meet Our Blogger: Alvaro

Florence, Fall 2015

Alvaro was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Fall 2015 term. He is a current student at Colorado State University studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy during the Fall 2015 term. GET TO KNOW ALVARO Tell us why you chose to study abroad. I chose to study abroad because I wanted to show my family and my fellow Latino’s that anything is possible.

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Meet Our Blogger: Jake

Florence, Fall 2015

Jake was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Fall 2015 term. He is a current student at University of Miami studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy during the Fall 2015 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad. I chose to study abroad because I am interested in immersing myself in a foreign culture. I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn about Italy in-depth.

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Bringing Home Spontaneity

Dominique, Florence, Summer 2015

Spontaneous is never a word I would use to describe myself. If you asked me of words or phrases I would use to describe myself, I would say things like “organized, thoughtful, goal-oriented”, but never spontaneous. Doing things out of plan, with no schedule or organization was like a phobia of mine. So no, spontaneity was not my forte.

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From Vespas to Pizza

Dominique, Florence, Summer 2015

Cultural differences are a given. The world is full of a vast array of people with a vast array of cultures. While the United States is built on much of European history, actually experiencing Europe is much different. Your favorite food may be Italian, but until you experience real Italian food, there is a vast difference between Pizza Hut and ordering a Napoli at an Italian Pizzeria, trust me.

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How to Survive Your 1st Week Abroad

Dominique, Florence, Summer 2015

Step 1: Calm down! I was quite nervous getting ready to leave from Washington State to Florence. Though I had been out of the country before, it had been quite some time since I had done any extensive traveling. So many thoughts were running through my head; what will it look like, what will the people be like, how will I adapt, what if I get lost, what if there are huge language barriers?

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Lessons Learned

Sarah, Florence, Spring 2015

I have learned the most about who I am in my last four months in Florence.  I learned more about what I want from life, and how I hope to live. I have reflected a lot on my last four years of college, and how higher education has helped me grown into an adult. I have only just begun to imagine what life has in store for me in the future.

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The Things in Life Worth Experiencing

Andrea, Florence, Spring 2015

You never realize how much you have changed until you put yourself in an experience you’re not familiar with. Whether you believe if people change or not, we all have experiences that shape us into who we really are, or who we are becoming, and thankfully, who I’m becoming is someone who has more resilience. I’m thankful that I am able to see how much I have grown and changed just in one semester.

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Arrivederci Firenze

Charles, Florence, Spring 2015

As I sit in my apartment I have no desire to begin packing to head back to the States in a few days.

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Italian Adventure

Tameka, Florence, Spring 2015

One of my favorite SAI excursions was the weekend to Milan and Como. On the way to Como were the most beautiful mountains. The bus ride was long but the views were great. Our first stop when we arrived in Como was a restaurant that served a variety of pizza that I’m sure everyone enjoyed. The next day we went to visit Milan, the fashion capital of Italy.

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How I Learned to Live

Sarah, Florence, Spring 2015

If you were to ask me a year ago if study abroad was in future I would have corrected you immediately.  I am the type of person who plans out their life years in advance and it is very comforting to me to have an idea of what to prepare for. I am a second semester senior studying fashion design, my home school is Western Michigan University.

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A Peaceful Day-Trip

Andrea, Florence, Spring 2015

My favorite SAI excursion, so far, would have to be the day trip to Bologna! Ironically, the ride there (about an hour and a half) was the worst ride of my life. I was very carsick, but thankfully, I didn’t get sick on the bus!

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Meet our Blogger: Dominique

Florence, Summer 2015

My name is Dominique Norman. I am currently a junior at Washington State University, double majoring in Apparel Design and Merchandising with a focus in Comparative Ethnic Studies. I chose to study abroad originally because of my love of travel. Learning about different histories, cultures, and people is something I’m very passionate about.

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Da Vinci in Milano

Charles, Florence, Spring 2015

What a trip it has been so far! Half way through and I have been to around fifteen Italian cities in seven different regions. Among those cities I have visited my favorites (in no particular order)

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Cross-Culture Quality

Sarah, Florence, Spring 2015

When you go to another country it is expected that there will be differences in culture. I had an idea of what I thought Italy was like. I have to say it was not far off from the stereotype that I had in my head. I think that my idea of the Italian lifetime was very influenced by my family growing up.

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Living in Mistranslation and I Couldn’t be Happier

Charles, Florence, Spring 2015

My first month in Italy has come to a close and it has been quite the experience so far. As a history major, Florence is the place of my dreams. Every building has historical significance from the mighty Duomo to the small chiesa where Dante once preached. Back home you had to drive quite some way to go to a museum or anything like that.

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Trial & Error

Andrea, Florence, Spring 2015

When you’re going to study abroad for your first time, what to pack and what to leave at home is the million dollar question. Everyone seemed to be telling me to pack light, and then the other half was telling me to bring everything because I will want/need it. So, naturally, I had no clue. Upon my arrival, I was so glad that I packed light!

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My First Week In a Whole New World

Sarah, Florence, Spring 2015

Upon Arriving in the city of Florence, it surpassed my expectation. I was not expecting the city to be filled with so much history, and beautiful architecture. I truly feel like I am getting the complete Italian experience. I am living as if I were and Italian. I look forward to exploring this culture moreover the next four months.

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First Week in Florence

Charles, Florence, Spring 2015

Only one week in Florence and it has been quite an experience already! At first I was overwhelmed by the size of the city but, I am getting better at knowing how to get places. That being said, I still get lost every time I explore and kind of aimlessly wander.

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Adrenaline vs. Jet lag

Andrea, Florence, Spring 2015

The first impressions of being in Italy are still hitting me-I’m in awe of this beautiful city, but more in awe of the Italian culture. I have this insane amount of adrenaline wanting to see and eat everything and it started long before I landed in Florence. Before my plane had completely landed in Florence, I couldn’t stop looking at the Tuscany region and the incredible hills with the brightest green grass.

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Arrival in Florence

Tameka, Florence, Spring 2015

When I arrived in Florence the first thing I noticed were the unique buildings and architecture. Everything was so beautiful! The people were very friendly and helpful. My arrival was quite interesting, after leaving the airport I spent hours trying to find somewhere to exchange my American dollars. Then after being lost for quite a while I found the hotel that I was staying at for the night.

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Meet our Blogger: Tameka

Florence, Spring 2015

Tameka was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2015 term. She is a current student at Western Michigan University studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy during the Spring 2015 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad. I chose to study abroad because this is a once in a life time opportunity and I wanted to have the abroad experience.

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Surpassing Expectations

Rachel, Florence, Fall 2014

It is hard to believe December has finally come and I will be leaving in just over a week. Finishing my study abroad semester is definitely a bittersweet feeling. Although I am sad to be leaving Florence, I am glad to be returning home for Christmas with my family. Looking back at what I wanted to see before coming here, I have definitely surpassed those expectations.

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Reflecting on the Semester

Brittany, Florence, Fall 2014

What a semester that I never imagined! How can you begin to put the study abroad experience into words? I have been wondering what I will say to my friends and family when they ask about my time here. The emotions, experiences and relationships cannot be said in a simple sentence or even a single paper…they honestly cannot even be given parameters or restraints because they have changed my life and forever impacted my perspective.

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Meet our Blogger: Sarah

Sarah, Florence, Spring 2015

Sarah was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2015 term. She is a current student at Western Michigan University studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy during the Spring 2015 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad.

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Oh Beautiful Firenze

Lisa, Florence, Fall 2014

My time is coming to an end in Florence and I am thinking ahead to my travels around Europe. I am hard pressed to pick my ten favorite spots around Firenze, oh beautiful Firenze. Gusto Pizza has the best slice in town, Guy Fieri was there a few weeks back. In addition to making some truly AMAZING pizza, the owner is so wonderful and friendly!

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Arrivederci Firenze

Anne, Florence, Fall 2014

Hello all! The end of the semester is coming to an end! I cannot believe how fast this semester has gone! I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner! Walking around Florence seems even more magical with all of the decorations and lights being put up. I come from a small town, so seeing a city with all of the lights is something I am not used to all of the festivities.

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Anne’s Favorites

Anne, Florence, Fall 2014

Buongiorno! Things have been great here in Florence and I learn new places to enjoy every day. However, there are a few places that I personally enjoy. Probably my favorite thing to do in Florence is to walk along the Arno River, especially at sunset. You are able to go and sit down below so you are looking up at the bridges and the Ponte Vecchio in the distance.

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Meet our Blogger: Charles

Charles, Florence, Spring 2015

Charles was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2015 term. He is a current student at the University of Missouri studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy during the Sprig 2015 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad.

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Meet our Blogger: Andrea

Andrea, Florence, Spring 2015

Andrea was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2015 term. She is a current student at Kansas State University studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy during the Spring 2015 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad. I chose to study abroad because I wanted to give myself a diverse learning experience while I am still in college.

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Florence vs. North America

Lisa, Florence, Fall 2014

After having spent 3 weeks in Florence I left to participate in FUA Tuttotoscana program for a week in New York. I have not had much time to explore the city through all of my school time but thanks to walking everywhere I have been able to take in the sights! The biggest cultural difference that I am enjoying is the affair of food.

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Top 10 in Florence

Brittany, Florence, Fall 2014

As part time locals, we have developed our favorite places in Florence for all sorts of life activities. From good eats to great shopping, we know exactly where to go to satisfy a need or want. Osteria all’ Antico Vinaio: It is here that you can find a well made, large sandwich for 5 euros and are guaranteed to walk away a happy camper.

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Top 10

Rachel, Florence, Fall 2014

After traveling around Italy, as well as several other countries, I can easily say I am happy with my choice to study in Florence. Florence is such an accessible city you can walk almost anywhere. After traveling to cities where I had to take multiple trains to get to one destination, I definitely appreciate a walkable city. Although I’ve only scratched the surface of this city, I have found some of my favorite spots.

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History Everywhere!

Rachel, Florence, Fall 2014

After being here in Florence for a month, I have depicted a few major cultural differences. The Italians are proud people who truly appreciate tradition, art, family, food, and wine. Food in Italy is an art form; everything is made from scratch. Almost every business closes around 1 or 2pm and reopens later in the evening. I myself have adapted to this “afternoon break” in order to escape the hottest time of day.

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So Much to Appreciate

Brittany, Florence, Fall 2014

I feel as though I am at a cultural advantage over some of my American counterparts. Having been raised in a rather large Mexican family, many cultural stereotypes tend to overlap with those said about Italians. For example, the volume levels of normal conversation, the wild hand gestures, and lack of personal space are things that my background suggest to be normal.

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Everything is Fresher

Anne, Florence, Fall 2014

Hello again! Living in Florence continues to be one of the greatest experiences that I will ever have! There is something new to love about it every single day! I have been able to do a lot of traveling and activities such as hiking the Cinque Terre, visiting the Tuscan islands, Volterra, Pompeii, the island of Capri, Croatia, and Germany so far.

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Good God, the Food!

Lisa, Florence, Fall 2014

My first impression of Italy when getting off the plane was ‘holy crap I am never driving here’! They all drive like maniacs. First of all, on my trip, they lost my luggage. I thought the airport back home in Victoria B.C. Canada was small, but it is huge and bustling compared to Florence.

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Adjusting

Rachel, Florence, Fall 2014

When I first arrived to Florence, I’ll admit I was very overwhelmed.  I first arrived to my apartment and felt very alone and unsure of what was to lie ahead of me.  After I took a short walk from my apartment, I discovered the Duomo and the quaint Piazza San Pier Maggiore.  I spoke to locals with the small Italian I knew and got around fairly easily.

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So Far, So Good!

Brittany, Florence, Fall 2014

Ciao! I have finally made it to Italy and I am in love. I could honestly leave it at that, not telling you anything else. My point would be made and you would have to come see Firenze yourself. Not to worry though, I will not leave you in wonder. Instead, I will let you in on my first impressions and observations. Firenze is a small city and you really can walk anywhere.

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Buongiorno from Firenze!

Anne, Florence, Fall 2014

Buongiorno from Firenze!  So far getting settled into the city has been an amazing and great experience.  My apartment has a fantastic location; it is just a street over from the Fiume Arno (Arno River) and is not even a ten minute walk from the city center.  One thing that I noticed about my apartment is that it is a lot bigger than I imagined.

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Timeless Beauty

Salvatore, Florence, Summer 2014

Well, I knew that my fun was going to come to an end at some point, but unfortunately it came way too soon. Since being home everyone keeps asking me about my trip and how much I enjoyed traveling. I always tell them that I felt so blessed to see so many places in Europe and there were so many amazing cities that I’ve seen; but none of them will beat Florence.

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Meet our Blogger: Brittany

Brittany, Florence, Fall 2014

Brittany is a current student at Point Loma Nazarene University studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Italy during the Fall 2014 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad. I chose to study abroad because I love to travel and I love new cultures. That being said, I have not been able to stay for an extended period of time in any of the locations that I have been blessed to visit.

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Meet our Blogger: Lisa

Lisa, Florence, Fall 2014

Lisa is a current student at the Vancouver Island University studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Italy during the Fall 2014 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad. I chose to study abroad because I would like to experience everything the world has to offer. I am so interested in cultures all over. The reason that I chose Italy is because of the food.

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Meet our Blogger: Holiday

Holiday, London, Fall 2014

Holiday is a current student at the San Francisco Art Institute studying at University of the Arts London during the Fall 2014 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad. I chose to study abroad in London so that I could focus on my family history, and its connection to textiles, which have been constant throughout my art practice. I felt that I could investigate this best by being closer to home.

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Meet our Blogger: Anne

Anne, Florence, Fall 2014

Anne is a current student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania studying at Florence University of the Arts in Italy during the Fall 2014 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad. I chose to study abroad because I am very interested in travel, but the biggest part of my decision was because of my sister.  When I was still in high school, my sister studied abroad to Ireland and she absolutely loved it.

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Meet our Blogger: Rachel

Rachel, Florence, Fall 2014

Rachel is a current student at Richard Stockton College studying at Florence University of the Arts in Italy during the Fall 2014 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad. I chose to study abroad in order to experience another culture. I know that once college is over I am probably never going to have the opportunity to live in another country for 3-4 months. A few friends of mine have studied abroad and absolutely loved it.

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Arrivederci Firenze

Alston, Florence, Summer 2014

It’s come that time to say “Arrivederci Firenze”. This study abroad session has gone by with just the right speed, not too fast and not too slow. Studying abroad for six weeks was just the right amount of time I needed in Italy to get what I wanted to get done. As far as studies went, my wine class was a wonderful experience!

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A True Florentine

Salvatore, Florence, Summer 2014

After living in Florence for about four weeks now, I’m starting to feel like a true florentine. What do I mean by that? In a weird way I feel like a local in one of the most tourist filled areas in Italy.

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Similarities & Differences

Alston, Florence, Summer 2014

Having spent over three weeks in Italy, I have witnessed a great deal of differences in this country, but nothing close at all to getting culture shock. Anybody can tell the huge differences of culture between the United States and Italy within the first day of a visit to this country.

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Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!

Salvatore, Florence, Summer 2014

My mother always told me that a first impression is the most important, and I guess Florence took that same advice. As soon as I stepped out of the gate at Amerigo Vespucci airport I was happily greeted by Alessandra and Alessandro from SAI (Yes, those are really their names). Immediately I felt welcomed and I could tell they were just as excited as I was to start this amazing adventure.

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Arrival

Alston, Florence, Summer 2014

I have officially begun my study abroad here in Florence! As soon as I touched down at the airport in Florence, it was obvious life was going to a bit different for 6 weeks. I have been to this city before in years past, but this time I’m here to live as a temporary citizen and experience a side I have never seen before.

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The End

Nelson, Florence, Spring 2014

It’s hard to believe that this semester has come to an end. It has as already been 14 weeks and looking back to everything I have done fills me with excitement about how this experience will help me grow in life. One of the main things that I have learned is to appreciate every moment in life, in a city, in my everyday and in the things I see.

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Where Did the Time Go?

Alexandra, Florence, Spring 2014

  I can’t believe my time in Florence is finally coming to an end. Where did these past 4 months go? I feel like just yesterday I was adjusting to this new and beautiful city I was about to call home. Although I am extremely excited to see my family after a long four months apart, it is hard to grasp the fact that my time here is over.

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The Food, the Wine, & the People

Christina, Florence, Spring 2014

As my time here is beginning to wrap up, I feel so bittersweet about leaving this beautiful city. It has been such a wonderful experience and opportunity to get to know the Italian culture. From the food, the wine, and the people, Italy has taught me about its roots and taught me more about myself as well. I will leave Italy with a large sense of satisfaction.

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My Second Home

Jennifer, Florence, Spring 2014

  It’s hard to believe that as I sit here and write my last blog post, I only have a little over 2 weeks left in Florence. It feels like just yesterday I was saying goodbye to my parents in the airport and the concept of 4 months away from home seemed daunting. I cannot believe how fast this semester has flown by and all of the amazing experiences Florence has given me.

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Meet our Blogger: Alston

Alston, Florence, Summer 2014

Alston was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Summer. He is a current student at Virginia Tech studying at Florence University of the Arts in Italy during the Summer 2014 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad. I believe that studying abroad is a must for all students. You will grow in so many ways and this summer is the perfect time for me to go abroad.

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My Great Spots

Christina, Florence, Spring 2014

I definitely have some of my favorite spots to go to in Florence. Whether it is for eating, relaxing, and self-reflection, I have found some great places through the help of friends, locals, and exploring. For groceries, I definitely have been fond of Conad. It literally is a giant supermarket grocery store that has a huge selection of goodies. It reminds me of the grocery store I go to back at home, Kroger.

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I Love Every Place

Genevieve, Florence, Spring 2014

I have been in Florence for over half the semester now, and I can say that I fall more and more in love with the city every single day. I can’t possibly list my all time favorite places because I love every place (especially every restaurant), but I will do my best to explain what has impacted my experience thus far.

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Top 10 Florence

Nelson, Florence, Spring 2014

Getting to know Florence has been quite an experience and starting on my list of favorite places throughout the city is Giotto’s Bell Tower observation deck (Duomo’s Campanile) as it offers the perfect view of the Duomo.

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Top Spots in Florence

Jennifer, Florence, Spring 2014

Ponte Vecchio – The Ponte Vecchio never fails to catch your eye. It is a beautiful sight from anywhere along the Arno or many parts of the city. The Ponte Vecchio brings the whole city together and is the central focus point of Florence. In addition to the gorgeous exterior, the actual bridge is always fun to walk over, gazing at the breathtaking views of the city and admiring the cute shops along the bridge!

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My City

Alexandra, Florence, Spring 2014

Boboli Gardens: This park is home to a collection of sculptures dating from the 16th to 18th centuries. When visiting this park, I roamed around for about 3 hours in the gardens. There is SO much to see. In all different parts of the parks you come across many different pieces of art, flowers, trees, and many beautiful views. There are many hills and secret passageways that you can end up anywhere!

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Needless to Say, I am Loving it Here

Genevieve, Florence, Spring 2014

Having been here just over four weeks, I can finally say it is starting to feel more familiar.  The streets are getting easier to navigate, I finally know how to get to class without using Google Maps, and my apartment is feeling like a home – even with all the ups and downs that come along with it! Italian culture is so much different than American culture, and I LOVE it.

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Cultural Differences

Nelson, Florence, Spring 2014

Out of two decades of experiencing what the world has to offer, culture have been one of the most interesting aspects of the later part of that time since I have been able to experience different ones.

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A Simple Life

Christina, Florence, Spring 2014

I remembered telling myself to keep an open mind about the lifestyle here, in hopes that it would alleviate the culture shock. I luckily haven’t experienced much of a culture shock that many other students might have. There are definitely some differences that I experience every day, such as opening a door.

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Building my Horizons

Alexandra, Florence, Spring 2014

Being in Florence for almost a month now I have seen many cultural differences compared to America. I knew I would encounter many differences when arriving here and was ready to become cultured and broaden my horizons. One of the first things we saw at orientation was a video mocking, in a way, the differences between the way cars drive here versus other parts of the world.

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Understanding Italian Life

Jennifer, Florence, Spring 2014

When I first arrived in Florence, I experienced major culture shock. I noticed so many differences between Italian life and my own culture, some of which I liked and some of which were hard to get used to. After being here for a month now, I have grown almost fully accustomed to the cultural differences and have tried to understand Italian life. The first major difference I noticed between Florence and America is the pace.

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Overwhelmed, in a Good Way

Jennifer, Florence, Spring 2014

Being a natural homebody, the idea of going abroad was very new to me. I was filled with many different emotions and did not know what to expect. When I first arrived in Florence, I was very overwhelmed by the city; in a good way. I was mesmerized by its beauty, but also very confused and did not know how to get anywhere.

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Inexplicably Excited

Nelson, Florence, Spring 2014

The first thing I noticed when I arrived to Firenze on that Tuesday afternoon was the similarities between the outskirt of the city and Latin American cities. All of the surrounding mountains, low-rise buildings and motorcycles brought me back to what my life used to be like during my childhood. Though this was the feeling in the city outskirt, the city center was unique and completely surreal.

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One For the Books

Genevieve, Florence, Spring 2014

Finally I arrived in Firenze!  It is a beautiful city.  I am in love with my apartment, but the trip here wasn’t as wonderful as I had imagined.  I spent the first week with some friends in London, so on the 28th, I flew from London to Florence.  Still jet-lagged, exhausted and on little sleep, I traveled to the Heathrow airport to catch my 9:25 a.m. flight.

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It Has Only Just Begun.

Alexandra, Florence, Spring 2014

Stepping off the plane I couldn’t believe I was finally in Italy. The air smelled fresher and all I could see were magnificent hills and buildings in the distance. Regardless of the jet lag I was experiencing, the only emotion I could feel was excitement. From the second I landed, I knew I was about to embark on the best 4 months of my life.

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Final Reflection

Jessica, Florence, Fall 2013

The whole event of studying abroad made me more appreciative of every little thing I experience, even today. Having the opportunity to learn how to live in a culture different from the one I was used to forced me to push my boundaries in a way I had never challenged myself before.

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A lot to Soak Up

Christina, Florence, Spring 2014

It’s so hard to describe the crazy emotions when you first arrive in Firenze. My first breathe of fresh air was so… liberating. The air here feels so clean. The atmosphere is significantly different from home, in a good way. Firenze has hills that make you feel like you’re in the country, but then not too far away is the city. The streets here are very narrow and mostly one way, if you’re driving.

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A Semester Dedicated to Experiences

Danielle, Florence, Fall 2013

I’m from a reasonably large city [in Iowa], which actually means at the fourth largest city in the state, we have approximately 80,000 residents. I downsized a bit when moving to college: I now live in a town of 6,000 residents. I have loved my college experience more than most people (so much so that I’m applying to PhD programs to become a professor)

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I Found Myself in Florence

Shelbie, Florence, Fall 2013

Studying abroad was the best decision I could have possibly made. Not only did I engage in a completely new culture, but I found myself in Florence. My gratitude reaches beyond the bounds of this letter. In fact words cannot accurately describe what I have gained in terms of myself, but I would like to share a few experiences with you in order to express my appreciation.

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My Cup Runneth Over

Shanta, Florence, Fall 2013

Studying abroad changed my life. I have never felt so free and unrestrained before. It helped me to see that I can do anything I want. I never thought that I would be studying abroad. I am not your average study abroad student. I didn’t come from money. This opportunity came about by impulse.

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Every Day Was an Adventure

Jamine, Florence, Fall 2013

My semester spent in Italy were the best four months of my life. Not only did I learn more about the world, and the cultures within it, but I learned so much about myself and made lifelong friends along the way. Every day in Italy was an adventure; whether I was trying a new cafe, or walking through Florence to get to class.

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A Dream Come True

Alyssa, Florence, Fall 2013

As I walked with all my luggage, struggling with the weight and size of my bags, towards my family waiting just beyond the arrival gate, I remember thinking to myself: did I just do that? Was the last four months real? Did I really live in a foreign country?

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Deep Gratitude

Elizabeth, Florence, Fall 2013

Studying abroad in Florence through SAI developed my global perspective and offered an incredible learning experience on personal level. Learning to adjust to a different culture deepened self-awareness and helped to strengthen my sense of identity. As a young person, I am faced with decisions on how to move into the future as an independent adult. Upon returning from Italy, I graduated from college.

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So Much Has Changed

Laura, Florence, Fall 2013

Now home for the first time in what feels like forever, so many things in my life have changed. I can’t explain the sense of urgency I have to find the same enjoyment here that I so easily found abroad. I miss dearly the sweet moments of Italian life: espresso, walking everywhere, slow pace life, Tuscan hills, and those tiny, tiny sidewalks.

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Becoming More Adaptable

Kelly, Florence, Fall 2013

You learn a lot about yourself when traveling. The experience makes one more self sufficient, highlighting and condensing your requirements for survival. To be gender specific, I feel women have a slightly trickier time at this. There is nothing wrong with abandoning makeup or hair products, and let’s not go so far as to say they are requirements for survival.

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Florence in the Winter

Jasmine, Florence, Fall 2013

This past month in Italy has been a lot of me wondering through the streets and soaking everything in. My time here has passed so fast I can’t believe we’re all going home in a week. Florence during the winter is such a magical experience. The streets are all lit up with festive lights and decorations. I love seeing all of the different types of lights that each street has.

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A Dopo, Firenze

Shelbie, Florence, Fall 2013

It’s hard to believe that it is my last week here in Florence. It seems like just yesterday I arrived at my home stay with all of my luggage completely exhausted from the journey. I am a different person than when I first arrived. I am independent and I can navigate public transportation like a pro! I now have this obsession with food, wine, and fashion, even more so than before.

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Where Has the Time Gone?

Laura, Florence, Fall 2013

I can’t believe that I am writing my final post for this semester’s blog. Where has time gone? I am finished with all my travels, excited to spend the last two weeks or so in Florence. This past month has been a great closing to the semester. My travels included Rome, Interlaken and Venice. Interlaken is a beautiful town situated between two lakes in Switzerland surrounded by a constant view of the Alps.

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14 Days…

Alyssa, Florence, Fall 2013

14 days . . . that is how many days I have left in this beautiful city. It amazes me how quickly time passes. I can still remember my first few hours in Florence and being totally taken aback by how beautiful it was. I still remember the taxi ride to the apartment and thanking God that we arrived in one piece after such a crazy ride.

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What I Will Miss…

Jessica, Florence, Fall 2013

As all study abroad blogs usually end: I can’t believe how fast this semester has flown by! I have absolutely fallen in love with Italy and the culture. But more than anything, I have fallen in love with traveling and meeting new people. Although I would never change a single aspect of my trip here, I am still excited to be able to go home to see family and friends.

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A Lot to be Thankful for

Elizabeth, Florence, Fall 2013

Studying abroad has deepened the level of appreciation for both the American and Italian way of life. The time in Italy has been broken into general phases. For the first part, I was in awe of the new way of life and focused on adapting. Then I went through the phase of anticipating visitors: my brothers and my boyfriend. After the visitors left, I went through a phase of homesickness.

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How to Experience the Charm of Florence

Jessica, Florence, Fall 2013

My last blog post addressed a realization that I was traveling away from Florence too much rather than exploring this charming city. After the post, I began taking more time to get involved with the community rather than sitting at home relaxing or surfing the internet. Constantly on my feet, I have burdened myself with perpetually throbbing soles, but the benefits far exceed the cons.

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Savoring Every Moment

Laura, Florence, Fall 2013

Italy is finally beginning to feel like home. My Italian is still minimal, yet slowly improving. I am realizing how easy it is to live abroad—you just have to recognize the differences and enjoy the changes! Florence really is a small town; you can walk anywhere within a matter of minutes. One of my recent discoveries is the flower market. It is every Thursday morning in Piazza della Repubblica.

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Food, Walk, Soccer

Jasmine, Florence, Fall 2013

Most of the beginning of October was spent indoors studying for my midterms. I did however, manage to make some really yummy food in my food, culture, and society class! Every week in this class we take on the challenge of making an authentic Italian dish. We make different dishes depending on what region we are currently studying.

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Making the Most…

Shelbie, Florence, Fall 2013

Ciao tutti!! Last week was fall break and I visited Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin. It was amazing! I saw the Eiffel Tower and walked around the Louvre in Paris. There was a carnival going on while we were in Amsterdam that was full of out-of-this-world food trucks. And the Bram Stoker festival was going on while we were in Dublin.

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The Beginning

Kelly, Florence, Fall 2013

In the last four weeks I actually got to settle down into my apartment, meet my roommates, and start classes. It was also at this point where I actually started experiencing life as a resident, and not just a tourist, though I’m sure a lot of locals still think that I am a tourist.

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Helpful Tips & Suggestions

Alyssa, Florence, Fall 2013

As my experience in Florence comes closer to an end I thought for this blog entry I would share some helpful tips and suggestions that may help future study abroad students. Know where you are going! If you have never been to Italy or Europe in general, then do yourself a huge favor and grab a travel book.

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1st Half of my Semester

Elizabeth, Florence, Fall 2013

Studying abroad offers the unique and amazing opportunity of getting a taste of what it is like to live in a completely new place. Adapting to the new environment has helped me develop a deeper sense of self-awareness. The first half of my time in Florence was focused on adapting well to living in a historic city and traveling to nearby places in Italy. Leading up to fall break, life got especially hectic.

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Fall Break

Danielle, Florence, Fall 2013

I spent my fall break traveling across a smattering of countries in Europe: Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Spain. Through this experience, I was constantly reminded of the importance of place. The location in which people were raised greatly affects the outcomes of their lives—the situations they encounter, the personality characteristics they develop, the values they hold most dear.

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Such an Adventure!

Jasmine, Florence, Fall 2013

My abroad experience has been such an adventure the past month! I have really started to travel all over Italy and appreciate all of the different cultures that make it up. With SAI, I went to Maremma, Giglio Island, Volterra, a secluded island, and biked through Lucca. The three day trip SAI took us on was so unbelievably amazing.

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About SAI

SAI Programs 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.