Ciao, Fairfield! I’m writing to you from Florence with another study abroad update. I have officially been here for two weeks, and while adjusting to this new environment has included many naps, it’s been the time of my life! I adapted to living in Florence much quicker than I anticipated, which has been critical in establishing my daily routine and feeling comfortable while abroad. This being said, it is definitely intimidating to pack up your whole life and move across the world for three and a half months. After being here for two weeks, I have already learned so much about adapting to a foreign country and maximizing my study abroad experience. For those of you who are studying abroad soon or are thinking of applying, here is my advice for conquering your initial two weeks abroad!

Put yourself out there!

Because I did not apply to study abroad alongside any of my friends, I was very intimidated by the thought of going to a new country and not having solid friendships to rely on. Instead of letting this freak me out, I made a goal to reach out to new people and form connections from the get-go. Asking people from your orientation groups and classes to simply grab a coffee goes a long way. I started saying yes to hanging out with people I barely knew and ended up having some of the best nights of my life. Studying abroad also brings students from across the world together, and two of my closest friends in Florence are from different universities. Most everyone who studies abroad is looking to make new friends, so always jump at the opportunity to connect with new people!

Do your own thing!

While studying abroad will give you lifelong friendships, it is also important to do things on your own. After all, studying abroad is known to be one of the most valuable growth experiences for college students. Take some time to walk around your city after class and get to know your new home. If there are sights you want to see, don’t wait for others! Experiencing moments like these on your own will be so profound and make you realize how much you are accomplishing all on your own. I recommend keeping a journal to record your experiences. This is an awesome way to look back and reflect on your personal growth during your time abroad. Even after just two weeks in Florence, I am already so proud of how much I have grown.    

Don’t rush

The second that I landed in Italy, my head was spinning thinking about places I wanted to visit during my time here. Studying abroad opens doors to so many bucket-list travel destinations that I have never had the opportunity to explore before. While traveling across Europe is the experience of a lifetime, it is also very important not to overlook your host city. I have loved taking these past two weeks to explore and become grounded in Florence. There is so much culture, history and art all within a two-mile radius of me – something that I do not take for granted! While seeing other countries is very exciting, make sure to show your host city some love! 

Keep an open mind

While this is such a cliche piece of advice, it really does ring true for those who study abroad. It is inevitable that some things won’t go according to plan, or that you may not even have a plan at all. The unknown is very scary – but also very freeing. You will never get an experience like studying abroad again, so be sure to cherish every moment of it! Even if things go wrong, learn to take it in stride. While change is scary, it also signifies the start of something incredible. Always be open to new experiences, new places, new people, and new food—it will make your time abroad so much richer!

Even just after two weeks abroad, I feel as though I have grown so much as a person. I have tasted some of the best food, created meaningful relationships with people I just met and seen some of the most beautiful sights of my life (I am currently writing this on a library rooftop that overlooks the Duomo … it really doesn’t get much better than this!). For those of you considering studying abroad, I promise you it will all be worth it!

About The Author

-- Junior I Assistant Vine I English Creative Writing --

Jacqui is an English: Creative Writing major in Fairfield University's class of 2025

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