Study Abroad Reflection
Holly, SAI Ambassador
June 26, 2018

Recently we caught up with SAI Ambassador Holly, who studied abroad in Florence during the Fall 2017 semester.   In this blog entry, she answers some questions describing her time in Florence.  

1. What was your favorite thing to do in your host city?

This was taken in Interlaken, Switzerland as I was snow-shoeing through the Alps! One of the best experiences I have ever had.

One of my favorite things to do was to just walk around the city and explore new areas. Even in a small city such as Florence there is so much to discover. I loved stumbling upon new cafes, vintage shops, and best of all, gelato places!

Beautiful view of Florence from Piazza Michaelangelo. SAI led us up here the first week to watch the sunset.

2. What travel tips would you give someone studying abroad?

It may be tempting to book through student travel companies such as Bus2Alps and SmartTrip but please, please book trips on your own!!! I enjoyed the trips I booked on my own a lot more than the trips I did with the student travel companies. They do take the stress out of logistics and finding things to do, but I think that is apart of the whole experience of traveling on your own.

The lovely view from top of the bell tower, 414 steps it took to get up there!! Totally worth it.

3. Do you have any tips for learning the language while students are abroad?

This is by far one of my biggest regrets from studying abroad –not learning the language. Please try to learn the language as much as you can! My advice would be to download Duolingo before you go to get your feet wet. Don’t be shy, engage with locals and try to speak the language. It’s okay if you’re not right, they appreciate the effort.

The BEST pizza I have ever eaten, made by yours truly at one of the pizza-making workshops offered by SAI.

4. What advice do you have for new study abroad students?

Culture shock is real! It’s okay if you’re totally freaked out the first week and feeling a little off. It takes time to get adjusted, but before you know it, your city will feel like home. My advice would be to relax, breathe, keep in touch with family and friends from back home and take everything as it comes.

Caffeine was a necessity every morning, most enjoyed in the form of a cappuccino!!

–Holly was a fall 2017 SAI Florence student from Lasell College.  She is an SAI Ambassador.

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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.