My typical day as a travel abroad student consists of usually meeting with my Italian chat pal Alessia. We practice our Italian and I help her with her English. We always get coffee, Paninis, or gelato. Sometimes I check out the events and excursion sign-up through my SAI program. –Take advantage of these! They are so much fun and a great opportunity to see the world and try new things, plus, you already paid for them. Through these excursions, I have made a handmade a book, seen classic Italian films, explored Milan and Como, and have seen an Opera.
After class, I go to the grocery store or market. This is probably one of my favorite activities. Shopping for food is so relaxing and I usually meet the nicest people. I always am able to practice my Italian in this setting which I love. The only thing I do not like about grocery shopping is bringing it up my six flights of stairs but it is a great work out. Cooking every meal is the biggest way to save money while abroad. I enjoy cooking. It is fun when you are almost out of groceries and you have to through random foods together. It is always interesting to see if what I concocted tastes good.
After I cook, I explore the city for a place to do my homework. If I need Wifi I either sit under the awning at my university that looks over the Arno or I go to the library. It has a beautiful view of the Duomo. My favorite spot to do my homework when I do not need Wifi is the stone “ramp” of the Pitti Palace. The sun always hits it in just the right spot and if I get bored I can people watch. After I do my homework I work out. I either go for a run around the city for more exploring or attend a work out class offered by my university. I prefer the work out classes because I am an exercise science major and learning how Italians teach their work out classes is very beneficial for my major. It is important to make sure you get a work out in. With everything going on while you are abroad, it is essential to work out the stress.
On the weekends I send my time traveling the world! Don’t know where to go? Take a map close your eyes and point! Be adventurous with your travels. When you have got four classes once a week why not. Right? Yes, the classes here are demanding and challenging in different ways than the courses are back home but you have all day to figure them out. Not to mention, you are a student. You get things at discounted prices! You will never get this opportunity again at your young age.
While abroad, take time to travel the world but do not forget to spend time in your host country. Florence has become my little home. My first impression of it was large and confusing. I would get lost walking home. Now, I want to get lost and cannot. I am beyond happy I happened to pick Florence to study and live in for four months. When I come back from my travels, I am happy to be amongst the yellow buildings, small streets, and people in puffy jackets of every color. It is just the right size and there are always things going on. I have attended a chocolate festival, watched a half marathon, and judged a gelato contest!
Sheena is a current student at Carroll University studying at Florence University of the Arts in Italy during the Spring 2016 term.