Why do study abroad programs exist? Why do we decide to participate in them?
Well, there is more than one answer to these questions. Everyone has her/his own reason why she/he decides to go for a semester or a year, and study somewhere else.
Leaving your home country for some time makes you step out of your comfort zone. That is definitely the phrase that I’ve heard most often during the first weeks in Florence. Though, there is nothing to worry about.
Yes, living in Italy means adjusting to a new environment. When you first look at it, you’ll see the general things like the landscape and the architecture that you’ll find inspiring. Then, you’ll notice all the little things that will create the actual picture of the place and might be frustrating at times. Yes, sometimes you need to plan ahead because stores in Italy close earlier or close during the lunchtime (around 12pm – 2pm), you might not find here your favorite cookies, you’ll have to ask for checks in restaurants and the premiere of the movie you’ve been waiting for so long takes place in Italy a little later than in the US. It doesn’t mean it’s worse over here, it’s just different. You’ll be amazed how much information you’ll acquire during your first two weeks in Florence while interacting with other people. We all learn from each other.
Yesterday my friend told me that she’s not used to eating Italian grapes because they have seeds; I’ve been eating grapes from Spain or Italy my whole life so I haven’t really noticed it… At least now I know that I need to try seedless grapes from Florida. These are all the little things that will make you leave your comfort zone for a moment to help you understand who you are and what you really like.
It’s only a semester or two, you can always come back to your own world but think that you can discover something that you’ll love more than anything before. Give yourself a chance and travel.
P.S. I’m attaching pictures from our field trips – to Siena and Cinque Terre. Great opportunity to see other places and meet new people.