By Lucy Hazan, UCONN
This weekend I decided that instead of traveling to a new destination I was going to stay in Florence. A huge part of studying abroad is traveling all over the continent where you study. This was something I wrapped myself up in trying to get all over Europe instead of appreciating what I had right in front of me! So this weekend I was going to give myself the full Florence experience.
I started my weekend by going to the leather market to get my family presents and of course the leather jacket I have been dreaming about since day 1. A key tip to finding your way around the sea of vendors is to find the ones who will give you the best prices. You must bargain when in the leather market because they overprice everything. After going to each vendor and finding what I needed, I made my way inside the “Mercato Centrale”. This place is a foodies’ heaven with everything you could possibly want and need in one place. I took a stroll down each selection, walking by meat, fresh produce, dried fruits, and breads. So I grabbed fresh salmon, picked out asparagus, and ricotta & spinach ravioli. It hit me after purchasing these items in Italian, that I only had one month left in this amazing place.
I began to look back at how far I have come this semester. I stepped off the plane on January 6th to a place I would call home for the next 4 months. All I knew about Italy was that the food was great and that family was extremely important. It took me a while to adjust to the new culture. I had to learn a new language, walk everywhere to get from one place to the next, and become more independent. As each week passed by, all these things became more normal to me. I moved away from my fast paced lifestyle at home to the relaxing Italian way. I was finally picking up on some Italian and by learning it I realized that a language should never be something to prevent you from going to a certain place. I stepped out of my comfort zone to make friends from different schools and do things on my own to gain independence. I learned that contrary to every parent’s belief, you can eat “gelato” and a “panino” every single day and never get sick of it, oh, and of course pizza!
Studying abroad in Florence has been the most amazing experience of my life. Living in a different country and traveling, are lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom. There are not many times in our life that we get to spend carefree months exploring the world that lies beyond our hometown, even during college. This is a privilege and experience I will never forget.
As I move onto my last month here in Florence there are a few more things I have to cross off my bucket list. One being to eat more amazing Italian cuisine at recommended restaurants, and to climb the great steps of the Brunelleschi dome. Overall, I could not have picked a better place to study abroad and after it is all over, I cannot wait to come back.