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. Before coming abroad I was given tips and advice from upper classmen who had spent a semester abroad in the past, and I remember hearing multiple times from them, “I met people from all over the states while abroad and they are now my best friends.” I remember thinking to myself, there is no way, how can you become best friends with people in such a short period of time. I now understand exactly what the upper classmen meant. c I have formed some extraordinary friendships in just a little under four months.
The most amazing part about getting so close with these girls is getting to share such amazing adventures around Europe with them. My favorite trips have not been completely because of the place I am traveling to, but who I was traveling there with. The people you surround yourself around can really increase the experience and that is why I am so glad I met such a great group of girls who I was able to spend my time abroad with.
One of the most memorable parts about my abroad experience was a fun little weekly tradition that a couple of my friends and I decided to create called “Monday Beach Day”. Once it began to warm up in Italy, a few of my friends and I, who don’t have any classes on Monday, decided to use our free day to go to a different beach around Italy. We would find a beach that’s just a train ride away and go! Because of this, I got to see Viareggio, White Beach in Rosignano, Castiglioncello, and Cinque Terre. These beach days made for beautiful little day trips that also gave us an opportunity to explore more parts of Italy. And of course, these trips would not have been the same with out my friends right by my side.
I can’t express how hard it is going to be to say goodbye to all my new friends. Although we may have just met, I feel like I’ve known them for years. We all just have so much fun together and we seem to just always be laughing. As our semester is nearing the end, my friends and I are already making plans for when and where we are going to meet up again. We are thinking the Bahamas’s for winter break! It may sound far off, but we hope to find a new destination every year to travel and meet up at. My abroad experience has been more than I could have ever imagined, and I am happy that I can take home with me more than memories, but strong friendships as well. Thank you SAI, and Florence, Italy, for this life changing experience.
Chloe was a spring 2017 SAI Florence student from Washington State University.