Spending six weeks in Florence, Italy, was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I visited over 20 cities. Went cliff diving into the Ligurian Sea and relaxed on three beaches. I climbed 5 towers and one was 114 meters high. I was able to indulge in the Italian culture and learn the Italian language as well as learn about the Renaissance. When you spent six weeks in a country and you were able to apply the things you were learning in class immediately, you could see faster results. Before going to Italy I did not know any Italian at all. By the end of the six weeks, I was able to hold conversations with native-speaking Italians without completely embarrassing myself. Learning about the culture and language in person rather than reading about it in a book made you appreciate it more.
One major thing I immediately noticed when I arrived in Italy was the architecture. There were these massive, yet beautiful churches built by famous architects like Brunelleschi and Giotto. Also, being able to see beautiful works of art like the David by Michelangelo was truly inspiring. While I was studying abroad I took a Renaissance Culture class where we would go visit museums, churches, and historical sites. We visited some of the best museums in the world such as The Uffizi Gallery, The Accademia, and The Palatine Gallery, which allowed me to fully appreciate the beauty of Italy and the Renaissance time period. My professor, also the program director, was a master when it came to the history of Italy, so whenever we would visit all the magnificent places we would get an in-depth explanation of what everything meant. This definitely made me appreciate the works of art I was seeing more.
Another aspect everyone always asked when you studied abroad was … food. The food was amazing and definitely healthier than in America. One thing that took me a while to get used to was the pizza. It was as if they don’t believe in thick crust pizza whatsoever. Once I got used to it, I loved the pizza there and had it almost every day since there were hundreds of pizzerias in Florence alone. I was lucky enough to also have homemade Italian meals every night for dinner. The hotel we stayed at provided us with home-cooked meals so that we could truly experience Italian food.
This was an amazing experience and it inspired me to travel to other countries to gain insight into its culture. Traveling the world will give you a different perspective and memories that will last a lifetime. The summer of 2018 was one I will never forget.