Parli Inglese? Do you speak English?
Alaysha, Florence, Spring 2017
March 7, 2017

My first week in Florence consisted of basically three things: getting lost, getting gelato and getting a lot of Italian pronunciations wrong! I started my travels on January 23, 2017. I said goodbye to my family and boarded the first of 3 connecting flights to Florence, Italy!

Alaysha M - Florence - Spring 2017

Getting my daily fix at Amalo, one of the many great gelato places in our neighborhood!

I had been saving my whole college career for this opportunity and I couldn’t wait to just get there already.  The plane ride went surprisingly well. Seeing as this was my first time traveling alone and abroad, I was beyond nervous. My first flight was a piece of cake and on my longest flight I was fortunate enough to have a row all to myself, giving me the freedom to stretch out and really get comfortable! When we landed I was greeted and directed to my next point by a tall British man named Laurence, one of the assistant program coordinators at SAI in Florence.  He’s really a barrel of laughs, but unsurprisingly the staff at SAI was very friendly and accommodating in getting me situated and into my apartment. I arrived to a quaint and cozy little Italian apartment, greeted by three other girls who I have already become quite close with.

Alaysha M - Florence - Spring 2017

When they know you by name already!

Alaysha M - Florence - Spring 2017

Graffiti wallart on the hike to the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte

What I love most about my neighborhood is how were so close to everything! We’re pretty much in the heart of Florence. Just a few steps to the left and you’re standing in front of the Santa Croce church, and if you turn to the right you’re in the city center by where the Duomo di Firenze sits. The main SAI offices as well as FUA’s office are also literally right around the corner from us, which is also really convenient. We’re about 5 minutes away from the touristy parts of Florence so we’re surrounded by unique and authentic Florentine shops and eateries that are much more affordable. 

Alaysha M - Florence - Spring 2017

Loving my new home!

Alaysha M - Florence - Spring 2017

Cafe Mario “Molto Bene”

Almost every morning I wake up and get a chocolate croissant and café latte at Café Mario on the corner of my street. I love coming here knowing I can pick up something on my way to class for under 4 euro! It’s amusing because they already know me by name! The people here are really warm and friendly. The Pastry chefs here even try to help my roommates and I with some basic Italian words, and explained the Italian eating times so we don’t completely look like tourist.  

Alaysha M - Florence - Spring 2017

Gearing up for a ride on the famous carousel at the Piazza della Repubblica

Alaysha M - Florence - Spring 2017

The amazing architecture during dinner at the Palazzo Borghese.

Aside from starting off going to bed at 5am and waking at 3pm, I am adjusting to life in Florence pretty well. I am so excited to start classes, and to meet more students like myself. Until next time, Ciao!


Alaysha is a Virginia Commonwealth University student in the SAI Florence Spring 2017 program.

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1 responses to “Parli Inglese? Do you speak English?”

  1. I am so proud of you Alaysha!! Enjoy every bit of your time in Italy! Ciao!!!!

    by Quintella Smith on March 8, 2017 at 1:19 pm

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SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.