I would like to share ten things that I learned while studying abroad:
1) Plan ahead – this is for the clothing of what to wear in a foreign country with cultural meaning, weather etc. Also, this can be for when traveling around and checking times of monuments, how much money to bring, etc.
2) Get some familiarity with the language of the host country before arriving. This will definitely help with basic communication between you and the locals.
3) Do not be afraid. There’s truly nothing to be afraid of. If you are aware of your surroundings and make new friends, you will have no problem settling in.
4) Travel, Travel, Travel!!! Take advantage of your weekends. Make sure once you get to where you’re studying abroad (or preferably before), plan out all of your weekends so that you won’t be tempted to stay in the house and be in your comfort zone. Get out there and explore!
5) Make sure to allow yourself enough time between flights, especially if you have to re-check your bags.
6) Check and double check the amount of bags you’re allowed on your flight. I thought that I was allowed one checked bag but then found out that I wasn’t. So, I had to pay an extra 50 euros at the airport.
7) If you’re a coffee drinker, then the espresso coffee will be a bit different for you. It is the same amount of caffeine, but much less water. I recommend the cappuccinos or macchiatos.
8) Don’t just eat near your apartment or dorm when you’re abroad. Branch out and explore more local cuisines! That’s part of studying abroad.
9) The more gelato the better! I ate gelato basically every day for 6 weeks because I can’t get enough of it! It’s much much better than ice cream back in the states!
10) The Wifi isn’t the quality that you’re used to. That’s perfectly fine! Just get out and explore and meet new people!
Alexis is a summer 2017 SAI Florence student from Western Michigan University.