Anyone that has ever studied abroad: This churro is good, but not as good as the one I had in Barthelona. It was the best time ever and a once in a lifetime experience!
Any person that has had the slightest interaction with anyone who has studied abroad knows that it was “the best experience of their lives.” As someone who returns to New York in exactly one month and starts spreading the news, I’m going to be upfront about the ups and downs of studying in Florence. There were some things all of those who went before me left out telling me about their abroad experience, so here are some things I wish I knew before going to Florence: the good, the bad and the Italian.
You literally get to say you lived in ITALY for four months. For 20-something year old college students, it’s probably the first and only time for a while you can get to live like this: you’re independent in a foreign country, but still have some support from your parents. This is the longest I’ve ever been away from home, so it’s kind of a weird feeling. You miss your family, but love the freedom of being completely on your own.
Some Florentines actually hate American students. No one told me this until orientation when we landed, but they really only think Americans are in Italy to get drunk and cause trouble so a lot of them are rude to you right off the bat.
You can be in Ireland, Italy and Germany all in the same week, but still be in class Monday through Thursday. Travelling is a part of the reason why so many people go abroad. Florence has a lot of travel companies like, FlorenceforFun, Bus2Alps and SmartTrip that plan out your weekend trips for you. They include transportation, hostels and usually a meal. It’s the easiest and cheapest option if you are last minute, like myself, and decide to get away for a weekend.
I had no idea how much money I would spend here, so 12/10 recommend saving every cent you have. Most of my funds go to food because everything is amazing and I refuse to miss out on any culinary experience. Additional expenses include travelling, cute European clothes no one else has at home, booze and souvenirs (I can always hear my mom reminding me to get a Christmas present for every third, fourth and fifth cousin).
This next one hit me like a truck: you have to air dry all your clothes because no housing comes with a dryer. It lowkey makes me feel like Belle in “Beauty and the Beast.” My clothes have taken days to dry and it kills me when I can’t wear my favorite pair of black leggings.
Italy is really relaxed. I have never seen anyone address any problem with urgency. Honestly, I wish I had that mindset because the way they approach problems is more levelheaded. They are seriously never stressed out. At first, it may feel frustrating because it will feel like no one cares about your problems. They take everything day by day, which came as a huge shock to me, but now I really like these island vibes.
You have to watch your back. It’s a city, so like any other city it’s common that crimes happen. A sketchy guy selling a selfie stick is on every corner so you have to watch your back. THIS ONE IS FOR THE LADIES: it’s a must to watch out for the men in Florence. They always approach you on the streets whether you’re in sweats or going out clothes. There is little to no concept of personal space so American students tend to feel uncomfortable with how close strangers get to us.
The time FLIES by! I feel like I have so much left to do and so little time. Please, please, please, prioritize what you want to do because it all catches up to you and suddenly you want to go rogue for the last month of school to finish up my bucket list.