How the Past 100 Days Have Changed my Life
Jenica, Florence, Spring 2016
May 19, 2016

When I arrived in Florence back in January, I remember being absolutely terrified. I had never left the country let alone by myself and I had never been away from home for longer than a month.

Jenica - Spring 16 - florence

These are the major places that I’ve traveled to so far! Top row: Pisa, Cinque Terre, Siena Second row: Amsterdam, Paris Third row: Barcelona, Berlin, Positano

I remember walking around that very first day thinking what am I doing here since everything was so foreign and different to me. Those first few weeks were very difficult to say the least. I envied those who came knowing other people from their schools back home or people they grew up with. I knew absolutely no one and had always struggled with being very social.

Jenica - Spring 16 - florence

A few my amazing friendships that have been formed over the last few months. It’s going to be so sad to say goodbye to them when they leave me this week!

I was lucky enough to get an apartment in Florence just a few steps away from my school, so I never left that area by myself until about 2 weeks in when I finally mustered up the courage to venture out by myself and get lost in the city. I definitely achieved that goal, I got lost for about an hour but had a great time doing it. I people watched, paid 10 euro for the most overpriced, touristy gelato (I laugh so much thinking back to this and how naïve I was) and saw the beauty of Florence that I had never opened my eyes up to before that. From that day on my independence grew stronger and I became more and more comfortable with the city and the people that occupied it.

Jenica - Spring 16 - florence

These are some pictures of places around Florence! Top left, taken from Ponte Amerigo Vespucci Middle, taken from the top of the Duomo Top right, some of the many amazing prints in the Uffizi museum Middle left, in the Bardini Gardens & middle right in the Boboli Gardens Bottom left, in the Accademia Museum along with the David on the bottom right

These past few months I have grown tremendously. I have become a more social, relaxed person around new friends and strangers. I have learned the most amazing things in culinary school here at Apicius. I have ridden a train 25 different times (I would consider myself an expert now). I have been to Cinque Terre 4 different times, climbed the Duomo 4 times, and climbed the bell tower 3 times making me an excellent candidate to be a tour guide for those places. Most of all I have grown because I have learned things the hard way. I have missed 5 different trains, gotten 4 different things pickpocketed, dealt with language barriers in every country I’ve traveled in (not to mention here in Italy), and many other memorable situations that I can look back at and laugh (or maybe cry a little) and realize how much I’ve grown from them. I am excited to see how these next 3 months treat me, who knows what new stories are still to come!

Jenica - Spring 16 - florence

Some of the many incredible foods I have had all around Europe!

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Jenica is a current student at Colorado State University studying at Florence University of the Arts in Italy, during the Spring 2016 term.

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About SAI

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.