Living Like an Italian
Patrick, Florence, Spring 2013
April 2, 2013

My first week in Florence has been amazing. As soon as I began to explore the city, I was stunned by its beauty. I had, of course, looked at many pictures of the famous Florentine landmarks, but the pictures cannot truly reflect the wonder of this city’s sites. The first time I saw the iconic Duomo, I was astounded. Its sheer immensity continues to amaze me. Even though Florence is a small city, I got lost frequently, largely because I am very bad with directions. After several days, though, I had gotten much better with navigation.

My first classes were interesting. I did not really know what to expect from them, and I think I will enjoy taking classes that are quite different from those of my home school. I am taking a food and culture class, so I am especially looking forward to preparing some Italian dishes. I am really enjoying my Italian language class as well. It is very small, so we can really practice conversation a lot. I expect that by the end of the semester, my knowledge of the Italian language will have increased greatly.

One of the things I have enjoyed the most so far is trying to live like an Italian. I work hard to not be the loud and rude American that so many Europeans expect. I always try to speak Italian when I go into shops or restaurants. I enjoy living in an apartment building that also houses other Italians. It makes the experience feel more authentic. I have really tried to escape an “American bubble” and go out and experience all the wonders of Italian culture. I have bought an Italian newspaper a few days and read it to the best of my abilities.

February will bring many exciting events. I will take my first trips around Italy. Classes will go on, and I will continue to learn more about Italian culture. Italy will also hold elections at the end of the month, which for a student of political science like myself is a very exciting thing. I have already experienced so many great things in just one week. I cannot wait to see what the next months will bring.

– Patrick, College of William and Mary


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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.