Sunday, February 26, 2017
I have officially been in Italy for half a year now, and it has been the fastest six months of my life. People say a lot can happen in a year, a month, a week, a day, a second. I say a lot has happened in the past six months. I feel as though I am a full fledge adult living the dream life in a foreign country. I thought of myself as quite independent seven months ago, but my independence has increased drastically since then. Being in charge of my bank account, taking overnight trips alone, stocking my fridge on a weekly basis, figuring out how to return to Florence after a travel disaster, deciding what I do and when, and staying on top of my schoolwork with the distractions of gelato, cappuccinos, Piazzale Michelangelo, and the Uffizi in the mix. Having this level of independence is extremely rewarding and rejuvenating. I know I may never have this type of independence ever again. That’s why every day I wake up with a “can do”, positive attitude. I only have three months left here. Three months left of my last year of being a freshman in Florence.
This past month I spent a week in Kyiv, Ukraine and started my spring semester. I truly loved being immersed in a foreign and very different culture than ones I have been exposed to previously. Traveling to other places is a constant learning experience. I learned about Ukrainian culture through Sasha and experienced it firsthand. I learned about the tension between Ukrainian and Russia and saw signs of it while I was there. I learned Kyiv is the world hub for coffee shops. And on my way home from Kyiv, I handled a very stressful travel situation on my own. That experience gave me so much confidence in my problem solving skills. Having the opportunity to learn about the world and myself abroad as an eighteen year old is so incredible I can’t put it into words. I just want to see more and learn more.
I’m thoroughly enjoying my five classes this semester. It’s really interesting learning about the Holocaust on the continent it occurred in, taking a fashion class in a place where fashion is so relevant, and discussing Plato and Socrates after visiting Greece. For me, study abroad means study always comes first. It’s certainly not the same for everyone, but it is for me. Having this mentality only enhances the whole experience.
Another highlight from this month is getting published in the Florentine. My honest take on study abroad students was a reflective piece, adding to a conversation Florence continues to have. This piece was a great addition to my portfolio and my drive as a writer.
There’s a lot to look forward to in these remaining three months. My upcoming travels start in a couple weeks, and I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop. xo ~ e.