I have always been a friendly person. I went to sleep away camp by myself, and on the first day made three new friends. I have never had a problem feeling comfortable in new settings, and had mastered the art of small talk pretty early on. So when I signed up for a six month study abroad program in Italy through a school that I didn’t go to, I wasn’t too worried. And I was right. Continue reading
I stepped out of my apartment on Via Ricasoli and immediately jumped back against the wall of my building. Throngs of tour groups were making their way down the narrow street, toward the Accademia Gallery, home to The David. Coursing down the street like a river, I knew that if I tried to cross the street I would be caught up in their current and forced to continue on down the road with them. After standing against my door for what seemed like an eternity, the crowds finally slowed down to a trickle and I could safely cross the street and walk in the opposite direction towards the Duomo, the center of Florence.
This is a huge mistake. My mind was racing with disastrous scenarios as I approached my gate. Looking around, I saw two other students sitting in the waiting area. Great, I thought to myself, the three losers who arrive too early and I’m one of them. In my haste to get to JFK, I had given myself too much time, and now I would be stuck waiting in this terminal for hours. I sat down on the small, springy airport chair and looked at the girl sitting across from me. She had long, straight brown hair, a huge Louis Vuitton bag and a silver knuckle ring on her middle fingers. She was reading A Room With A View; our study abroad assigned reading intended to prepare us for life in Florence. I had gotten as far as the first chapter before I tossed it aside and declared it useless. How was a book written in the fifties supposed to prepare me for modern-day Italy?
Typical NYU ideology.
Perhaps one of the top tourist destinations in the world, Florence, Italy has a hidden charm just waiting to be discovered. While many visitors feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of art, history, food and architectural sights, the key to enjoying this city is a mixture of flavor, observation, and relaxation. Take your time to see the classic sights, but allow yourself the opportunity to sit in a café and take in the true Florentine experience. La Dolce Vita is not just for the Italian born.
“She’s gone!” I sobbed, as I stared at the open gate in my backyard. Mentally reviewing my steps that morning, I tried to think back to the gate. Had I looked to see if it was shut properly? I was in a rush that morning as I let Sophie, my auburn-haired puggle, into the backyard for some exercise. Now looking around at Far Hills Avenue, the only busy street in my neighborhood, which happened to sit adjacent to my house, I could only fear the worst.
I am sweating. Opening my eyes, I realize that my air conditioner is off. Throwing myself out of bed, I walk over to the window and switch it back on. Ah… the cool breeze hits my face and I instantly feel better.
Pulling back my curtains, I can see that the day has already started. I head towards the kitchen to brew some tea. As I sort through the different tea boxes in my cabinet, my hand knocks against a tin container in the back. Pulling it out of the cabinet, I see snow covered mountains and the words Interlaken written across it. I had bought this tin of chocolates while vacationing in Switzerland and had forgotten all about them. As I stare at the mountains etched on the tin of truffles, I start to remember my own adventure on those very same Alps.
How to make the most of your Study Abroad trip:
When I headed off for my study abroad trip to Florence, Italy I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted to have an experience I would never forget! During my five months in Europe I traveled to seven different countries, made friends with locals, learned to flirt in Italian and ate about ten tons of spaghetti.