We connected with SAI Ambassador Madison, who took some time to answer some questions about her stay in Florence.
What was your favorite class abroad and why?
Florentine Art Walks with Dario. We spent the class period walking around Florence learning about the history around every corner. We went into churches and museums with our professor who told us stories and fun facts about where we were. We even took a field trip into Fiesole which is a town right outside of Florence to see the amphitheater and Roman baths. This course was super helpful when it came to really knowing where I was in relation to history and culture. The information that we learned came in handy when my friends had questions and when my family came to visit, I was able to act as their in house tour guide for the city I came to call home. There were places that Dario took us and tidbits of information he gifted us with that otherwise, I would not have known about.
What is your most memorable interaction with a local in your host city?
A block from my apartment on Via Ghibellina was a small coffee shop called Café Canto Alla Mela. I would visit the couple that owned it every morning for a cappuccino and cornetto or bombolino. Each morning, they would teach me some more conversational Italian and offer a friendly smile in the afternoon on my way home.
What was your favorite thing to do in your host city?
When I didn’t have classes or travel plans, I loved to wander around the city and “get lost.” I found the best shops and tasty treats this way! From new coffee to cannoli or art galleries, I found new places around every corner. Sometimes, after wandering around, I would find myself at a familiar place like Gusta Pizza where I could take away a pie and sit outside of the Santo Spirito or walk up to the Rose Garden near Piazza Michelangelo.
What is your favorite memory from studying abroad?
My favorite memory from studying abroad was traveling to the Amalfi Coast with my friends. The boat that was supposed to pick us up broke down. We ended up finding a beach to lay on in Capri which ended up being a blessing. We were able to see even more of my favorite place with the water at our feet and granita in our hands.
What advice do you have for new study abroad students?
Don’t be afraid to explore the city on your own and find YOUR places. This is your home for the next few months, take time to get to know your city and the local culture. Check out where the locals frequent to find the places that truly captivate the city. Treasure each moment and take time to breathe it all in.
Madison was a spring 2018 SAI Florence student from Muhlenberg College.