There has always been something intriguing to me about Europe, especially Italy, so when I found SAI’s Florence program, I was over the moon. Even waking up at 4 a.m. to head to the airport the morning of departure couldn’t kill my buzz. This was the first time I was traveling out of the country and I knew before I got here that I would love every second of my time here. Just like you’re doing now, I read the blog posts in preparation for my trip, and I saw a few about being homesick. Obviously, I was going to miss my family, (I miss my puppy Oliver, the most of all) but I never thought I would miss Nebraska, the place that I’ve been yearning to get out of.
They say the first few weeks are the worst for homesickness. That may be true for some people, but not for me. Just like I thought, I have spent every second completely infatuated with this city. I love my friends, my apartment, my classes, and I’ve even found my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant. I seriously love Italy so much that I’m already trying to figure out how to move here after graduation… or at least find a job that allows me to travel back and forth between the US and Italy. I thought for sure that I had beat the homesick thing.
One regular old weeknight, my roommate and I were cooking dinner, and it turned out awful… like, so awful we threw the whole thing away. I made a peanut butter & jelly sandwich instead, but even the peanut butter is different here. That night, I missed my parents.
Then, we went on our first excursion. The trip started on Friday, but because I have a Friday class, I missed the first 5 hours of the trip and got to meet up with the rest of the group later that night. I was on the bus all alone watching the Italian countryside (which looks a lot like home), seeing my roommates’ gorgeous snapchats of the marina, and I felt so sad. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself that I was missing out on all of the fun, and seeing the countryside made me miss home. A lot. I tried to remind myself that I’m in Italy doing things that other people back home would love to be doing, but that just made me angry at myself for feeling sad. And then I cried.
Everything ended up being totally fine in the end. I made it to Maremma in time for supper, I had fun exploring the quaint little seaside town, I talked to my mom that night back at the hotel, and I had the best weekend ever. We got to go to the beach, watch a butteri (Italian cowboy) show, have the most amazing food, and explore the medieval town of Siena. It was also a nice little reminder that no matter what happens, or where you are, your feelings are valid. If you’re homesick and your friends aren’t, that’s okay. If you feel sad when you think you should be grateful to be where you are, that’s okay too. Take time to listen to yourself and take the necessary actions to feel better. You’ll enjoy this life-changing experience so much more.
Taylor is a Fall 2019 Florence student from University of Nebraska-Lincoln.