Trial & Error
Andrea, Florence, Spring 2015
March 11, 2015

Andrea F - Spring 15 - Florence

Arno river at night

When you’re going to study abroad for your first time, what to pack and what to leave at home is the million dollar question. Everyone seemed to be telling me to pack light, and then the other half was telling me to bring everything because I will want/need it. So, naturally, I had no clue. Upon my arrival, I was so glad that I packed light! However, after a few weeks here, there is easily a backpack of things I wish I would have brought. You can have family members mail packages to you, however, if it gets stuck in customs, things can get complicated.

Andrea F - Spring 15 - Florence

IKEA shopping store

So, here is what I recommend packing, other than your clothes of choice:

  • Nyquil, cold/allergy medicine, advil. They have pharmacies and English speaking doctors here, however, their medicine is not as strong/different than the U.S.
  • Vitamins/A Multivitamin. They can be a bit pricey here.
  • Big bottles of lotion, shampoo and conditioner. They are extremely expensive here and do not work very good. Make sure to pack in your checked bag in ziploc baggies!
  • Chapstick and Gum.
  • Umbrella, water resistant jacket.
  • Copies (2) of your passport to carry on you.
  • Notebooks and school supplies, they are expensive and hard to find here.
  • Facial products and lots of tampons!
  • Walking shoes, chunky heels/booties (NOT stilettos).
Andrea F - Spring 15 - Florence

Dock of Lake Como


  • DO NOT bring hair straighteners, curling irons, hair dryers, etc., they take up extra room and you can buy very good quality for cheap here!
  • DO NOT bring tons of clothes or shoes. You can buy fairly cheap clothes and shoes here and the shopping is to die for!!
  • DO NOT bring a lot of jackets/coats, one of each is fine.
  • DO NOT overpack! Bring your essentials (above) and clothes, but otherwise, it’s not worth paying extra for your bags!!
Andrea F - Spring 15 - Florence

Castle of Milan (a moat used to be where the grass is)

Becoming comfortable with your new city can take a few weeks; it’s okay to get frustrated, feel lost or homesick! Getting yourself up and moving around can help those feelings of homesickness, frustration or loneliness! Take a walk, go for a hike, get lost, go on a run, get a local gym membership, etc., there are so many cheap/free options available so that you don’t miss out on this amazing experience abroad! The first few weeks are new and exciting and all of your friends want to do everything and go everywhere-DO NOT let this overwhelm you! Ease into your new city in your OWN time; find out what works/doesn’t work best for you, where you want to go, what restaurants/cafe’s you like, etc. Giving yourself alone time to get comfortable at the beginning is so important! Again, learning how to get around on your own is your best way to familiarize yourself with the city.

Andrea F - Spring 15 - Florence

Pinos sandwiches (best sandwiches you’ll ever have)

Don’t forget to try new things, especially food and desserts you have never heard of!! Use your money wisely because it is SO easy to spend hundreds within the first week you are here! But acclimate yourself with the city FIRST before you spend lots of money shopping! I know this is hard, especially for us girls, but you’ll appreciate learning what stores have the same or different products and which prices you like better/what sales are going on!! The thrill of being here can take over alot of self control with shopping (haha) so be careful, the shopping is to die for.

Andrea F - Spring 15 - Florence

Chocolate cheesecake from Tijuana mexican restaurant

Andrea F - Spring 15 - Florence

Milan shopping mall

Spend your effort and money traveling everywhere you can! Traveling is extremely cheap through Ryanair or EasyJet, Raineurope or buses! Travel travel travel and take lots of pictures!

Till next time, loves!


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