FIT in Florence

FIT in Florence

March 10, 2017
by Ashi
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What to Expect: First Time in Florence!

Ciao, my fellow Tigers! It’s been about a month since we all landed in Italy with wide eyes and a thirst to explore! In the past couple weeks, my life has changed, in the best way possible! In short, I have moved to another country, found an apartment, made friends, started school, toured the whole of Florence and traveled to amazing places. Florence has blown all my expectations out of the water.

Initially, I was so nervous and anxious to fit in with the people who already had an established friend group but, as the universe has it… I made some great friends on the second day of being here!

Quick story: When my new roommate and I were looking for the restaurant, I saw a tall dome like building and thought it was the famous “Duomo” in Florence. It was probably ¼ the size of the real one and looking back I am so embarrassed for even thinking that! My advice to any student studying abroad: Never try to fit in with the people that are already friends… make your own and maybe even just stick to one other person that is open minded and willing to explore with you. You will have no issue meeting other people, as you will share most of your classes with the people in your major.

The next day was apartment-hunting day! My new friends and I decided to stick together and search for a new home! We all got along really well at orientation and were really anxious to move out of that hostel! LONG story short: The four of us had a tough day trying to find an apartment in a foreign country. The best way to describe it is the “GO-SEE” day in America’s Next Top Model. When the models have to run around a new country to find appointments and make impossible deadlines.. YUP that’s how it was. The last apartment we saw was a WINNER! All 4 of us walked in and screamed YES like the crazy Americans that we are. Whoever tells you finding an apartment abroad is a piece of cake is a liar. It is a ton of work but is very rewarding! Our apartment is everything I hoped for and MORE! My advice: I know that it can be nerve wrecking to come to another country without a place to live but trust me everything works out. FIT in Florence has a lot of connections and people who are willing to help with every step along the way.

        The next few days were amazing. FIT in Florence organized a historic tour of Florence and I have fallen in love! One night, all of the FIT students went out for Aperitivo (which is basically Italian happy hour for FOOD instead of drinks) and then socialized all through the night. It was nice to get to know all the people in our program. Also the classrooms look like an art gallery.. It is unbelievable!

I can now say that studying abroad is the best decision that I have ever made.Quick Story: My roommate and I spontaneously decided to go to the Tuscan countryside for the day and saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa in real life and it was so exciting! It’s only bus ride away from Florence and totally worth it! Everyday is a new adventure here and I am obsessed with every inch of Florence. It feels surreal to be in this beautiful city and to see the Duomo on the way to class and to walk across the Ponte Vecchio everyday. I can’t wait to explore more. I’ve learned that sneakers or flat shoes are the way to go in Italy! The cobblestone streets don’t mesh well with high heels! But I’ll save my tips and ticks for another post!

February 17, 2017
by Alexandra
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Long Time No Talk

Now that the spring semester is in full swing, it’s been a moment since we’ve all talked to each other last! The holidays, winter break, and the start of semester two came and went, so I can only imagine how fast the time will fly this time.

Acquainting myself back to Florence, moving into a new apartment, and meeting all the spring students has been such a whirlwind and a blast. In a short period of time, the FBM students will be headed to Lake Como and Milan for our first academic trip of the semester!

After all this time, it’s no surprise how much the city of Florence has captured my heart. For those who have just been accepted, are thinking about applying, or are in the process of beginning their journey to study abroad…this one is for you!

I present to you my Five Firenze Faves.

Five Firenze Faves
Favorite Gelato

So most of these may (or may not) be about food…but the gelato here is UNREAL! After trying many, many gelato places my all time favorite is La Carraia. They have two locations here in the beautiful Renaissance city, one right off of Ponte La Carraia (Piazza Nazario Sauro, 25/r) and the other in Santa Croce (Via de’ Benci, 24/r). My favorite flavors are many; arachidi salate (salted peanuts), biscotti (cookies), and cioccolato latte (milk chocolate).

Favorite Pizza

I definitely see a food theme recurring here. The pizza in Italia is some of the freshest and tastiest I’ve ever had! My all-time favorite has to be Gusta Pizza, located in Santo Spirito on Via Maggio, 46/r. Fun fact, they also have another place owned by the same people right next to La Carraia’s original location called Pizzeria Riva D’Arno on Lungarno Soderini, 7/r. Try their margherita pizza (and ask for it with pesto!) and prepare to have your life changed

Favorite Museum

The city of Firenze is the home to so much Renaissance history and masterpieces. From Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Donatello just to name a few…the museums filled with their  are incredible. My all-time favorite has to be the Uffizi Gallery located in Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6. Spend a few hours walking through the different galleries and get some amazing views of Piazza della Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio.

Favorite View

Getting a beautiful overlook or view from the top of a city is always crucial for me. I love being able to see everything at once and take in the settings around me. My absolutely favorite view of the city is from Piazzale Michelangelo. There are always even better views once you hike up a little further to San Miniato al Monte, but overall going up here at least once is completely necessary!

Favorite Restaurant

Last, but not least…more food! While there are so many delicious restaurants here in Firenze, the one I love the most for the food, the prices, and the charm is Osteria Santo Spirito located in Piazza Santo Spirito, 16/r. There are so many delicious dishes I can recommend…their zucchini risotto, cheese gnocchi, or traditional pappa al pomodoro (tomato bread soup) and ribollita (Tuscan bread and vegetable soup).

Overall, Firenze is an amazing, beautiful, and charming city that you must, I repeat MUST see in your lifetime. Once you set your eyes on this town, you will be enamored. Hopefully you’ll make your way over here soon, because you will certainly not regret it!

Con amore,

Allie

December 16, 2016
by Alexandra
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It’s Not Goodbye…

As Maria so eloquently put, just a mere four months ago, I began this once in a lifetime opportunity to spend an Academic Year abroad here in Firenze. It was one of the the most amazing, challenging, and life-changing decisions I have ever made. Now as the semester officially closes, I can’t help reflect on what has been an already incredible experience, how grateful I am for the memories I have made thus far, and the ones that I know are to come.

Studying abroad has opened my horizons to learn about the world, because life is just not merely supposed to be lived in one place. While I’m just saying “Ciao, Bella” to my beloved Firenze for now as I leave for a few weeks on winter break vacationing, it doesn’t seem real that four months have flown by so quickly.

I remember the first day I arrived like it was yesterday, the first time seeing Polimoda, and the first time I met so many friends that have become like family. It has been such a treat being able to experience my time abroad with such great people surrounding me.

Looking back at my first few months here, I can’t help but have Five Firenze (or travel) memories that I can reflect on.

Five Firenze Memories

First Day of Polimoda

Can I just finish my last year of school here too?! It only seems fair. Polimoda is a dream school; it feels like you’re stepping back in time into the Renaissance! School seems so much better knowing how much history lies between the walls. My first day was no exception, it started off this journey in such a cool way.

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Atop the Piazzale Michelangelo

The Piazzale Michelangelo is a must see visit in Florence. You get a full view of the entire city; the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and various cathedrals. It was my definite aha moment for how much this city has captured my heart.

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Geneva and Paris

As I think back on my first four months here, I can’t help but think of Geneva and Paris as the turning point in the semester and a time which bonded so many important friendships I now have. It was a time with so much learning, growth, and opportunity. I’ll never forget attending the trade shows, because it was the day I knew I had to become a buyer one day!

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Venezia

When we visited Venice it was more than halfway through the semester and also our last academic trip, but it brought so much more togetherness and fun out of our fellow FBM family. It was so nice to explore a city right here in Italia.

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Thanksgiving

Being away from home, friends and family, and familiarity on a holiday where we celebrate all of those things can be challenging, but being here surrounded with people who have become like family made all the difference. It’s so nice knowing that an experience like being abroad can bring that close-knit nature out of people.

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Those were just a few highlights of an amazing Fall semester here, and I can’t tell you how much of a joy it was to be able to write for you all. I would be remissed if I didn’t mention how much the Fall 2016 semester students will be missed. They have made our experience here all the better, but I know I’m not alone in saying we are overjoyed to welcome the Spring 2017 students come January, because it is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience! Wishing you all Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year! I look forward to seeing you all again in 2017.

Con amore,

Allie