Unlock the Full Potential of your Study Abroad Semester in Florence

About Florence 
Florence, located in the heart of Italy, boasts a rich history and art, with landmarks like the Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery. Renowned for its Renaissance heritage, Florence captivates residents with its timeless beauty and cultural vibrancy.
It is a relatively small town, with only 360,000 (approx.) inhabitants, of which 16% are foreigners. However, the metropolitan area has almost 1 million residents!  
There are 5 districts called ‘Quartieri’ and named with number and name. For example, Quartiere 1 or Q1 is known as Centro Storico, Florence’s historical center, and UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
As a study abroad student, you will probably be experiencing only the historical center with its 120,000 residents, its magnificent monuments, narrow streets, museums, statues, and the old charms of the city. 

Truth be told, you must also consider that most of the ‘Florentines’ live outside the historical center, as they believe the latter to be less convenient – parking spaces are spare, grocery stores are more costly and smaller, restaurants and cafes are wired towards tourists, of course. 

So, our first tip to make the most of your life in Florence is to explore its districts. Why not visit Manifattura Tabacchi for example, in Quartiere 5. An old tobacco factory regenerated into a multifunctional space that offers plenty of space to eat and drink, shop, view art, attend events, and listen to live music.

You may also want to visit Le Cure, adjacent to the Florence Football Stadium in Campo di Marte. Le Cure is a square, Piazza delle Cure, where Florentine life just happens. Every morning (except Sundays) you’ll find a food market and vendors of home goods and clothes. The square boasts seating where people of all ages relax. There is a great gelato shop, a bakery, the local pharmacy, a small pizza shop, cafes and bars, restaurants… A vibrant area to be explored! 

Don’t miss out on Via Gioberti and its 100 shops! Find Piazza Beccaria, head towards the Viale, and cross it, to find yourself immersed in locals. Enjoy the sounds and smells coming from the many small shops selling local delicacies. 

You have come to Florence to ‘study abroad’ – which means that you will also have to study, along with traveling, eating amazing food, and spending time with your friends. 
Plan your week wisely so as not to leave your homework at the last minute which will stress you out. Find time to relax, enjoy the city, and study every day. Refrain from the desire to explore the whole of Europe every weekend, as it will get you exhausted, and you will not be able to truly appreciate either the traveling or your Florence home. So, you must also balance the number of weekend trips and the time you spend in Florence simply exploring the city and making yourself at home. Staying local is also of course the most sustainable choice if you care for your future and the environment. 

It is no secret that you have come to a country that has a completely different and new culture to yours. You might find that everything is different, from the way people greet one another, to how you drink coffee, from stores to fashion, timetables, and manners… 
Expect everything to be different and don’t attempt to find anything like you have back in the States. You are here, in Florence, to learn that cultural differences provide an enriching experience, you can learn from them, and you can find them unsettling but intriguing at the same time. 
So be open to those differences, be curious and brave! 

While being curious, however, do not forget to be aware, always, of your surroundings. Whether it is a weekday, and you are out at night with your friends in Florence, or you are traveling and visiting Barcelona or Amsterdam, be aware, think smart, and stay safe!