What is your favorite memory from studying abroad?
My favorite memory from study abroad was traveling to 6 different countries and learning about the different cultures. I am from Hawai’i, where we are heavily invested with our culture and it is very important to us. I loved being able to experience different cultures and see how other people live their lives on a day-to-day basis. Every place that I traveled to felt different, whether it was the people, the food, the views, etc. All of these things relate to someone’s culture and I, personally, just love learning about different cultures around the world. I traveled to France, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Croatia, and my host country was Italy. There were different things about each place that I loved, and things that I will remember forever. Aside from meeting new people, and taking lots of pictures, being in the moment and taking in different cultural norms and relating them to my own, was important to me in my study abroad experience. It helped me develop a better understanding of the world, and be able to respect and appreciate other things and places this world has to offer.
What was your favorite thing to do in your host city?
My favorite thing to do in Florence, Italy was wander around the city center and explore new beautiful places in the surrounding areas! Day after day, I never got tired of seeing the things Florence had to offer. I loved to walk around the city center and see the Duomo, and also see the buildings and narrow alley ways. It’s just so different than back home and I never got tired of this place I was in. When my family came to visit, we rented bikes and went all over the city. I showed them some of my favorite spots for a view and ventured out into new areas as well. My favorite thing to do was explore here! It was so beautiful. I also loved to go to my favorite gelato shop, Gelateria La Carraia. Of all the gelato places I tried in Florence, this one was my favorite! I truly can’t wait to go back one day.
What advice do you have for new study abroad students?
Before you leave to go abroad, I think it’s important to make a list of the places and things you for sure want to see. Believe it or not, study abroad goes by SO fast. Before I knew it, I was crying at the airport to head back home, saying goodbye to my friends and roommates! Before the time is over, I recommend you make this list so you can make sure you have time for it all. This is an experience of a lifetime, and you don’t want to go home regretting things you should’ve done or places you wish you got to travel to! I would also suggest, when you’re making your class schedule, if possible, not having class on Friday’s. I didn’t have classes on Friday’s and my friends and I were able to spend our weekends traveling, and it felt better having an extra day every weekend to explore! Also, amongst all your traveling, don’t forget to take time to explore you host city and really appreciate what you’re surrounded by. My greatest advice would be this – if you want to do something, do it, and take as many pictures as you can along the way!! Study abroad is definitely one of the most amazing things I will ever experience in my life, and I’m so excited for those people going on this journey!!!
Kaleo was a spring 2019 Florence Student from Washington State University.