It has come down to our final days here in Florence. We are saying bye to our friends, the delicious food, and the amazing city we have been able to call home for 4 months. Leaving is becoming harder everyday because I have built a life here and created memories I will never be able to experience again.
When I look back I am able to see how I have changed into a person that has no fears or traveling, going on my own and being my own person. I am now confident I can do anything; traveling the world puts that feeling inside of you. Living like a local in a different continent, forces you out of your comfort zone. You are pushed into awkward situations, such as language barriers, or not understanding their normal customs. What is amazing is you are able to adapt and learn from your mistakes. Being confident is half the battle. Going on your own gives you a new perspective and outlook on what is in front of you. I was able to walk where I wanted, eat what I wanted and do what I wanted in another country, which is insane! The central market is what I feel I have most accomplished. My communication skills were not the best, and neither were the vendors, but because I was able to go at least once a week and interact with them, by the end, language wasn’t even a problem because I had become a local. This to me is what is the most amazing part of becoming on your own. You can experience life without others to rely on. And in the end, you are a stronger, confident individual.
My biggest goal when coming to Italy was to try all the food, no matter if I liked it or not. I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss an opportunity, in any country. I will never be able to eat like how I have been eating, probably for the rest of my life. So, to me this was such a wonderful opportunity. I have accomplished this everywhere I have been. Italy, Paris, the UK, Budapest, and all the other countries I visited. My favorites throughout my 4 months here were in Siena and Florence. The food is wonderful!!! You will never experience anything like it. The fresh ingredients, perfect pasta, you just know it’s made with love. My study abroad was focused on food and it did not disappoint. I will remember these delicious meals, with wonderful people, forever.
Being in Florence has made me realize that I want to be traveling the world for the rest of my life. There are so many amazing places the world has to offer; one lifetime won’t even cover it. So I might as well try to cover as much of the world as I can. Being part of another culture, gives you a home, far away from home. It reminds you that people, are people, and will care for you no matter where in the world you are. Traveling reminds you how small you actually are, that when you look around you, your problems are minor compared to everything else. It humbles you and gives you a sense of peace to know the world is at your fingertips waiting for you to explore. Once I graduate college, I hope I have the opportunity to not only come back to Europe, but to come back to my home, Florence. I am so incredibly sad I am leaving. Every day I have to stop and remind myself to take it all in because I won’t be back for a while. I have absolutely loved my study abroad experience and could not have asked for anything more. What a magnificent semester it has been. I will sure miss it!
Olivia is a current student at Baylor University studying at Florence University of the Arts in Italy during the Spring 2016 term.