Studying abroad is one of the best decisions I ever made at Fairfield University. While it did seem daunting, traveling all the way to Europe and not seeing my family until December, the experiences with my friends and the ease of travel have been amazing. It truly is nothing like I would ever get back at Fairfield.
Right now, I am abroad in Florence, Italy, and it is such a wonderful place. Everything is close enough where you can walk and the people I have met here are so kind, and they make me truly feel at home. It was hard adjusting to the pace of life, solely being on my own, but our orientation was enough for me to get on my feet because the time and direction allowed me to properly acclimate.
Of course, there was a lot of trial and error with finding my classes, cooking my own food and figuring out how to plan trips to places like Germany and France. However, I eventually made it through and I am currently having the best time of my life. Living in Florence is especially amazing because of the natural beauty paired with the old architecture – it makes walking 20 minutes to class worth it.
When applying to study abroad, I was also given the opportunity to have an internship, and being an International Business major, I of course had to do it. To be honest, it is more work than I pictured going into it; I have to go to the office, work, walk back to the apartment, quickly eat lunch then go to class, which makes it seem like I can’t really enjoy my usual day to day because I always have somewhere to go. Not to mention my internship is a 35-minute walk each way, which definitely eats away at my day, but I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity and lessons I am learning. Of course, it’s an amazing experience to add to my resume as well.
When I do have time to go out to dinner and attend other events with friends, which will be one of the highlights of the whole experience. Florence is surprisingly a lot more affordable to eat out than I thought, so I have been doing it quite often (I will say, it does add up quickly, however). The fresh food paired with the right wine is absolutely amazing.
Between grocery shopping, eating out, planning trips, and paying for fees that I didn’t know I was supposed to pay for on those trips, I already spent way more money than I would’ve liked and I still have two and a half months left.
Besides the cultural life, the academic world has been incredible too. So far the teachers are amazing and so fun to talk to, and most of the classes involve an interactive experience. Sometimes, I have to go around the city and take photos for my photography class, and soon, when I take my wine class, I’ll have to visit some vineyards and go tasting with my professors and classmates.
For those who are thinking about studying abroad, I strongly recommend it and can’t emphasize enough the fact that if you are able and willing to go outside your comfort zone, do it 100%! Definitely make sure you have enough money: and make a very strict and thought-out budget depending on what you want to get out of this experience. Once you get there, just go with the flow, see everything and talk to everyone because you never know when you’ll ever get this experience again.