What is your favorite memory from studying abroad?
My favorite memory has to be one of the last memories I made while in Florence. Three friends & I went to Gusta pizza and got the pesto pizza to go. Fighting the urge to eat it right then and there, we made our way up to Piazzale Michelangelo. We found some steps to all sit on and began to dig into our pizza. We talked about all of our funny memories from the semester, drank red wine, and devoured our favorite pizza in Florence one last time. As the sun was setting over the city we had all grown to love so much, a man played the guitar in the background and a wedding party was being cheered for in the front. My friends and I cheersed as we finished the last bit of our chianti classico under the pink and orange sky. We took in the view until it started getting dark and then made our way down. As I walked down I knew for certain that I would be back one day for the view of my favorite city and for Gusta’s pesto pizza.
What does your study abroad experience mean to you?
Everybody says that studying abroad changes your life. It’s a cliche that will be thrown your way a thousand times before you board your flight to whatever gorgeous city you’re about to live in for the semester. Months later you come back and realize that this cliche could not be more true. Before going abroad I had never traveled alone or even been out of the country. Being able to live in a completely different culture and explore 13 countries over a few months was the most rewarding experience.I look back at all the polaroids, postcards, and GoPro videos and know that I am a more independent, adventurous, and well rounded person because of my time abroad. I will never forget all of the meals, friends, and adventures I experienced every single day.
What travel tips would you give someone studying abroad?
The perfect trip doesn’t exist. Planes are delayed, buses are missed, and there are moments that you become so stressed that all you want to do is lay in a ball and scream. Just know through the downs you may face while traveling, there is always a solution and a bright side to every situation. Missing my train in Venice was not ideal but it allowed me to wander the cobblestone walkways for even longer, leading me to a courtyard where they served fabulous wine and pizza. You just have to stay optimistic and remember that you are in some of the prettiest places the world has to offer. Don’t be afraid to get lost wherever you are because it can lead you to some of the best memories you’ll make all semester. While I was in Lisbon we wandered the cute neighborhood of Alfama and ended up finding a cute family run bakery that had the best egg tart we were able to find in Lisbon. It’s moments like these that you’ll have that make up for all of the stressful times you may undergo. So stay calm, get lost, and don’t forget to take everything in because these are some of the best months of your life.
Madeline was a Spring 2019 Florence student from Appalachian State University.