It happened. The impossible actually happened. It’s halfway through the semester, midterms are over and you can take a (slight) sigh of relief, and you realize…you might actually miss New York City.
Sure New York’s loud, fast-paced streets, sky-high buildings have nothing on the tranquility of Italy’s cultured architecture dating back centuries and laid back lifestyle, but it happened.
I would be lying to you if I said this doesn’t happen to everyone. A common misconception is that every moment abroad is perfect. Sure being abroad is a truly life changing experience, but every moment is not perfect. You must remember to take care of yourself, physically, but especially mentally.
Here’s my go to list when you’re missing the Big Apple or signs of the good, ole United States…
Health: A walk along the Arno River
Florence’s Arno reminds me of walking along the Hudson (and if you squint your eyes, it’s kind of the same…right?) Talking a walk clears your mind and it’s always good to get some fresh air in between long studying sessions. Plus, once you get one glimpse of the Ponte Vecchio, you can’t help but smile. Hint: for ample results, grab a pizza (or gelato) along the way.
Food: Diner Style
I feel slightly guilty suggesting to go to an American-themed restaurant when you’re in Italy, BUT if you’re really missing some classics (bagels, french fries, hamburgers, the whole nine) Florence happens to have some really good alternatives! The Diner in Santa Croce and the 1950’s American Diner near Piazza Santa Maria Novella are some favorites amongst abroad students. Go for a milkshake and fries and never look back!
Art/Culture: A Night at the Museum
Italy, especially Florence happens to be the home of some of the greatest museums in the world! If you’re a museum snob like myself, you’ll find some great ones right here. Get your fix of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and so many others at the Uffizi Gallery. Plus, you get some amazing views of the Ponte Vecchio.
Coffee: Cup of Joe
So I might be the only person in the history of ever that doesn’t like coffee, however, Arnold’s Coffee right next to Piazza Santa Maria Novella has authentic American coffee (in addition to tea and pastries!) If that isn’t enough to convince you, there is literally a giant poster of New York City as soon as you walk in. When you’re missing the big city, grab your coffee and chill while seeing the Empire State building!
Stores: Shop ‘til you Drop
Europe has some authentic and unique boutiques, but they also have some familiar stores! What do Sephora, Victoria’s Secret, Disney, H&M, or Zara all have in common? Well, for one – they have all store locations right here in Florence! So if you want some familiarity of a home shopping experience, it can still happen here!
While all of these tips might help your longing for New York (or home), I urge you all to enjoy all the more authentic experiences that this special country has to offer. Remember, what your feeling is totally normal. One of my favorite quotes reads, “Everyday might not be good, but there is something good in everyday.”
Remain positive and remember how lucky you are to be experiencing the ups and downs of studying abroad. It is a once in a lifetime experience and I’m sure once we go back, we’ll be longing to be in this exact moment!