Making the Most of Your Time Left Abroad
Jess, Spring 2024, Florence
April 16, 2024

During my time abroad, I’ve spent many weekends traveling to new countries and cities to see beautiful places and learn about new cultures. While catching flights and trains to new countries every weekend is a big part of the study abroad experience, it is also important to explore the place you call home for 4 months.

My time spent in Florence is full of many of my core memories I’ve made while abroad. With only one month left, my roommates and I are racing to cross items off of our bucket lists and try new things in this place we’ve made our home. One of the most important tips I can give is to make a list of all of the places you want to see, food you want to try, and things you want to do in your host city. This list has become a sort of bucket list for our remaining time, and it gives us an idea of everything we still want to do with the little time we have left.
Below are some examples of things my roommates and I have done to make the most of our time in Florence, Italy:

Trattoria Casalinga is just a few steps away from my apartment and one of my favorite I’ve had in Florence. The staff was amazing at explaining the menu and the food was delicious!

Explore the restaurants and cafes right outside your door

Florence is full of amazing food and it can be overwhelming thinking about the amount of restaurants that I want to try. While we typically look at TikTok and Trip Advisor when in search of a new dinner spot, it’s fun to try all of the places right by our apartment. Becoming a regular at the cafe you pass on the way to class everyday and trying new restaurants that might not be hyped up on TikTok have made this experience special.

The view from Piazzale Michelangelo is unbeatable. There are often musicians playing music and crowds of people gather to enjoy the sunset and spend time with one another.

Watch the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo as often as you can

While this is a rather well known spot, it is for good reason. I try to make the journey up to Piazzale Michelangelo at least once a week with friends to sit and watch the sunset. Bringing up drinks and snacks for a picnic while listening to the different street performers is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening, especially as it is warming up outside. It’s a great place to spend time with friends and take in the views of the city.

I did a painting class with my roommates through SAI and it was such a relaxing time! We learned about the history of Leonardo da Vinci while also painting this landscape.

Take part in SAI Viva Experiences

It can be easy to spend your week wandering the streets of the Florence or preparing for a weekend of travel, but fitting in time for SAI Viva Experiences has been worthwhile. If I’m being honest, I often found myself forgetting to sign up for these free activities when I first came abroad and I wish I started attending them sooner! I’ve done pizza making classes, wine tastings, painting and yoga classes, and am going on my first SAI daytrip this week. This is a great way to meet other students and SAI staff, as well as learn more about Italian culture and lifestyle.
Spend a few weekends staying in Florence

Exploring new countries and cities on the weekends is an amazing part of studying abroad, but make sure to save a few weekends to spend in Florence. Not only is it important for yourself to take a break from constantly traveling, which can be exhausting, but it gives you time to explore all of the reasons why you chose to study abroad in Florence, Italy. Visiting places like Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens, shopping at the different weekend markets, and just spending time exploring the city. While there is time during the week outside of classes, it’s nice having a weekend to spend a few free days exploring the city.

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

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