Living in a homestay abroad is the best way to experience cultural and linguistic nuances and to cultivate intimate friendships with the natives of the city! As an Italian minor, I knew I wanted to live in a homestay to practice Italian. However, I also wanted to feel connected with the people of Florence.
I live in the city center of Florence, Italy about a ten minute walk from the Duomo. I live in a big apartment with my host mother, Cristiana, her husband, Leonardo, their son, Andrea and their cat, Molly. Along with them, I live with seven other students. There are five high school students from Chile and Mexico, Emma, Ximena, Yiselle, Majo, and Ana Sofia and two other SAI students, Nicole and Thomas. Coming in to the experience, I was surprised to be living with so many students from different cultural backgrounds and programs. Now, I believe it is one of the most enriching parts of my study abroad experience. Dinner time is my favorite part of the day during the school week because it is a time where I can speak Italian (and Spanish!), get to know my housemates and my host family, and eat delicious home-cooked Italian meals!
I highly recommend choosing a homestay for anyone no matter if you know the language or not. It is an experience that will challenge you and make you uncomfortable at times, but it is extremely worth it. Study abroad is already an extremely unique opportunity that everyone should take advantage of. Living in a homestay will enhance your experience abroad and give you a family away from your family and a home away from home.
Carmen is a spring 2019 SAI Florence student from George Washington University.