Soooooo y’all know that I’m currently in Florence, Italy taking a few summer courses for my major. It’s been a BLAST! It’s still so unreal that I’m living here right now, like it still hasn't hit me yet. I walk around the city exploring every day (eating gelato of course) and even just chilling in my apartment and I’ll think to myself, “I’m literally in Europe right now. How did this happen?” 😂 But here I am starting out my summer in the best way possible and I’m just absolutely grateful that God blessed me with this incredible opportunity. And now I get to share my so-far amazing experience with ya!
My month-long adventure in Florence officially started last Thursday. I flew from Cleveland to Boston for a two hour layover, then we flew over to Amsterdam and got there around 6 am European time (I think I only got 30 minutes of sleep and spent most of the time watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Grease), and then we flew over to Florence shortly after. Needless to say, I was completely jet-lagged. I honestly spent my first day in Florence drifting off and taking a bunch of naps. I was also the only person in my apartment (my roommates moved in a day after me) and was feeling super homesick. It hit me then that I was going to be living in Europe far away from home for a whole freaking month. Honestly, I’m still homesick, but thankfully I’ve adjusted a lot more to the Italian city lifestyle.
My first night was spent out on the town with my friend Jill, whom I met on the group flight. We played it simple by going to a small restaurant near her apartment (no joke, it’s literally called The Small!), where we had glasses of Chardonnay and DELICIOUS gnocco alla sorrentina. Afterwards, we got some gelato and rode the carousal in Piazza Della Signora (it was only 2 euros per adult!). and went back to our apartments to get a good night’s sleep. It was a simple yet perfect first night!
Due to still being jet-lagged, I slept till 10:30 am. It was so nice, especially from being jet-lagged for so long! One of my roommates/friends, Marj, arrived at that same time and spent most of her day napping (from being jet-lagged of course). I was very hungry and still exhausted from the plane rides, so I went for a Nutella croissant and iced cappuccino at a cafe called the Habitat. After sitting in the sun enjoying my late breakfast (and trying to not let the pigeons take it), I decided to take a stroll around the city for a while to get a feel of Florence. I walked around Piazza Della Signora, the Duomo, the shopping districts, and much more. I was amazed by all the architecture and the diversity of people. It started to make some of my homesickness fade away. I just felt so grateful to be in Europe traveling around independently and learning about another culture. I felt so empowered during just one stroll! My other roommates finally arrived later in the day and we went out together for a pasta dinner, red wine and gelato for dessert. Another perfect night well spent!
The next two days of the weekend were orientation for the KSU summer institute program. It held basic lectures about how to adjust to life in Florence and details about the summer program. It wasn’t the most exciting thing in the world obviously, but I’m still glad I went. There were also two tours per day around the city, which wasn’t much sightseeing but still super intriguing. The best part about the weekend was hanging out with my roommates and the new friends I’ve made. The highlight was on Saturday night when a group of us walked over the river (and took pictures at golden hour of course) to get dinner at Regine Pizzeria. It was a little hard because all the waiters only spoke Italian, but it was such a fun night. We ate margherita pizza and calzones, drank red wine, and just had an overall great time laughing and smiling. The waiters also surprised us with a Nutella pizza dessert, which we didn’t even ask for since we didn’t speak their language! It was so delicious, and it kinda made me relieved that we didn’t go out for gelato sooner. We later went to a night club called Space to have a few drinks and dance around till midnight. I’m not a big party girl, but I just had so much fun with all my gal pals. It helped me start adjusting to life in Florence even more!
Classes officially started on Monday. I’m taking Italian Fashion & Culture and Field Experience: European Fashion Study Tour. They are super intriguing, not very hard and I love the professors (especially their Italian accents!), and they both involve field trips which I absolutely love. For the first class so far, we visited the Verrocchio exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi and the Aquaflor (which I highly recommend checking out if you’re a perfume junkie like me!). For the Study Tour class, we took a day trip to Carpi (two hours north of Florence) to visit the Liu-Jo headquarters. There we got a perspective of what it’s like to look for a fashion company. It was really good to learn more about the fashion industry and just made me appreciate my major even more. I’m so blessed for this opportunity to study abroad in the Italian fashion culture and for the opportunities to come!
There’s more updates to come in the next three weeks of the trip. This weekend I’ll be visiting Siena on Friday and then just chilling Florence for the rest of the weekend and upcoming week, so you’ll definitely hear all about those trips!
If you’ve been to Italy before and loved it, what were your favorite things about it? Give me some recommendations while I’m here for the remaining time!