Stephanie is a recent college graduate from Furman University with a major in Psychology. She loves to travel, , enjoys country music, and is passionate about life.
The highlight of my college experience was studying abroad in Florence, Italy. There is nothing quite like studying abroad. While abroad, I had the opportunity to fly to Sweden for the weekend on a moment’s notice, bus to Salzburg, Austria for the Christmas markets, and explore the quaint towns of Italy.
I decided to study abroad with a program apart from the options organized through my university. This was one of the best decisions I ever made. I hopped on the plane to Italy completely alone, knowing no one, not aware that a few short months from then, I would be crying on the plane home after saying goodbye to my new friends.
I could go on for 20 more pages about my study abroad experience, but for now I will just tell you why I would recommend studying abroad in Florence, Italy.
If you love coffee, and have never been to Italy, you have no idea what you are missing. There is nothing quite like ordering a cappuccino in Italy, and sipping it while standing or sitting at the coffee bar. Italian cappuccino is something so different from American coffee. I enjoy American coffee, but Italian cappuccino is just heavenly. Also, coffee is very cheap in Italy, so you won’t break the bank with your new addiction!
#2 The Food
I know that everyone says the food is amazing in Italy. But, take it from someone who was there for three and a half months-it really is. You would think that after eating pizza and pasta for a whole semester that you may get tired of it. Nope, it’s not possible. There is a lot of variety in Italian meals and it is easy to switch it up each night depending on what you are in the mood for. I usually had a pasta dish, a meat dish, and a glass of wine for dinner. Then I would have tiramisu, panna cotta, or gelato for dessert! On pizza nights, it was pizza, wine, and then a stop at a gelateria! I was also very lucky because the program that I was with gave us enough restaurant vouchers to last us the semester!
#3 You will never get lost in Florence
In Florence there is a big church in the middle of the city called the Duomo. This strikingly beautiful church is so big that you can never really get lost. If you can find your way back to the Duomo, and you know how to get home from there, you are set. I would often roam the Florentine streets, not knowing exactly where I was going, but I was okay with that because I was never far from a glimpse of this masterpiece.
#4 The Culture
The Florentines are always well dressed, and carry themselves with poise, yet they live a slow life. They are not in a hurry. Walking to work is not a race. Meals are a time for long conversations with friends, not a hurried affair. Many shops close for a couple of hours in the afternoon for a “riposo” or the Italian version of a siesta. Adapting to this slow, but purposeful living was a breath of fresh air that runs counter to the mentality of constant busyness that Americans have.
I could go on about why you should study in Florence, but I will end with encouraging you to study abroad somewhere. There is nothing like hopping a train to explore a new city, making new friends from all over the world, or taking a painting class in a city known for its art. I learned more about myself, became more independent, and ventured outside of my comfort zone more times than I could’ve imagined, during my time abroad. I would encourage everyone to study abroad while in college if given the opportunity, and if you asked me to tell you where, my automatic response would be Florence, Italy.