The Declassified Florence Survival Guide: First Week Edition
Aileen, Florence, Spring 2019
February 5, 2019

Passport, Visa, ID, Credit Cards and other miscellaneous (but extremely important) documents? CHECK. Now it’s a matter of getting from Point A to Point B.

To survive life in a brand-new country, you must learn to walk before you can run. That means surviving the first week before worrying about the next few months. First and foremost, you’re going to have to accept that your life is going to be flipped upside down—in the best possible way of course!

These are my fabulous roommates Mackenzie, Brigette, Allison, Alex, and Sam!

Survival Tip 1
 Prepare to haul your luggage up a few flights of stairs—take it from me, my legs felt like noodles after hauling an overweight suitcase up eight flights (NOT FUN). Maybe revise your suitcase just one last time before setting off on your journey, remember to pack light and versatile.

Dinner at a palace? Check.

Survival Tip 2
FOOD.WATER. NAPS. FRESH AIR. Unless you’re some form of superhuman, you will be jetlagged. If you’re like me and it’s your first time flying internationally, you’re in for a treat but do not fret! Make sure to have some food in your system, food is energy and you’re going to need plenty of that, I’ll tell you why in a second. Hydrate yourself! Need I say more on that? Probably not. Alas, it has been a long journey, and nothing sounds better than a nap but DO NOT nap on the first day. It’ll help adjust your circadian system aka your internal clock to the time shift. As tempting as it may be, try your best to power through the day. Instead go out for a walk! Fresh air does wonders and walking around will get your blood flowing, altogether can combat jetlag.

Our first full day of Florentine exploration!

Survival Tip 3
 Explore Florence! After all it will be your home for the next few months but familiarizing yourself with the city will help you feel more comfortable. You will also be on your way to finding your favorite spots around town!
□ Oblate Cafeteria – delicious drinks and snacks with a KILLER view of the Duomo.
□ Italian Bar Firenze Champagneria – quaint cafeteria just around the corner of Florence University of the Arts.

Funny story, we went out for a stroll and somehow wound up at the river! Pays off to get lost!

Survival Tip 4
 Test out your Italian skills! Step out of your comfort zone! Odds are you will mispronounce things but rest assured, locals will appreciate your efforts and teach you the correct pronunciation. Learn from your surroundings and your adjustment will be much smoother. BONUS: If you are a dog lover much like myself, you’ll want to pet all the dogs you come across during your strolls. Here is how to ask may I pet your dog: “Posso accarezzare tuo cane?”

Everyone loves a teeny tiny door! Especially me!

Survival Tip 5
 Breathe. Remember that it is only the beginning of your time in Florence, you do not need to do everything all at once. As a strong self-care advocate, please please please take care of yourself. Fill your bucket with whatever you need to ensure your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Survival Tip 6
 Call your parents or loved ones, give them a sigh of relief!

Aileen is a spring 2019 SAI Florence student from Colorado State University.

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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.