Embracing Florence: How to Make Your New City Feel Like Home
Jess, Spring 2024, Florence
February 16, 2024

Moving to a new place, yet alone a new country, can be daunting. You’ve spent months anticipating and preparing for this moment and now it’s finally here. After my first few weeks in Florence, I’ve experienced a whole new world of opportunities and changes. While I still have a lot to learn, these are a few of my tips to make the transition abroad easier and make the most of your new city.

Explore Your Surroundings

Florence is a city brimming with unique places and people. Take the long way home from class and explore the winding streets and tucked away shops. Make a list of all the different recommendations you’ve received and spots you’ve seen on TikTok and go find them. The more you explore, the more connected and at home you will feel in your new city. You might even find yourself a hidden gem.

Walking along the Ponte a Santa Trinita, watching the sunset over the Ponte Vecchio.

Embrace the New Culture

One of the most effective ways to integrate into your new surroundings is to embrace the Italian lifestyle, no matter how different it may be from what you’re used to. Take a long lunch, try getting groceries at the market, and use your Italian even if it’s as simple as saying “Ciao” or “Grazie”. Immersing yourself in the daily life of Florence will help you feel a sense of belonging and appreciate the new culture you are a part of.

After completing the SAI Neighborhood Scavenger hunt, we stopped to get gelato with new friends by Piazza Santo Spirito.

Make Your Space Yours

Unpack all of your bags, organize your shelves, and figure out a way to make your apartment or room feel like yours. Whether it’s putting up pictures you brought from home, buying a few knick knacks to spruce up the space, or even getting a throw blanket to make your bed feel cozy. Cultivate a sense of comfort and add your personal touches to really make this new place feel like home.

Exploring the Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace with my roommates on the first Sunday of the month when museums have free entry.

Connect with Community

Creating connections with other students and locals is a key way to make Florence feel like home. SAI and your host institution offer countless activities and clubs to help you get involved and meet new people. Become a regular at your favorite cafe or restaurant and build relationships with people in your community. Not only will this help you feel supported, but it will enrich your entire experience as you forge life-long friendships.

Written by: Jess, Spring 2024 Florence student from University of Kansas

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