CISABROAD BLOG · December 11, 2018 · 3 Min Read
A Home Away From Home | Intern Blog from Italy

My Journalism Internship at Florence University of the Arts

I knew when I applied to the Special Project Experiential Learning (SPEL) Journalism course at Florence University of the Arts that Florence was one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I thought it would be the perfect spot for me: a relaxed, artistic, history-filled setting that would appeal to my old and free-spirited soul. It turned out I was right on the money (and so much more). As I’m getting ready to head back to my hometown Charlotte, my heart grows heavy. Although I have only spent two months in Florence, it’s evident to me that I have found a home away from home.

FA18_Intern in Florence_Barbara Carranza_Blog Home Away From Home

A Home Away from Home

The thought that Florence might be my new home away from home first crossed my mind just a few days after my arrival. I assumed assimilating to a whole new country, language, and culture would naturally take time, but surprisingly, a sense of ease settled in me very quickly.

Since I have always been curious about anything and everything, I wondered: is it because Florence is the total opposite of Charlotte, a metropolitan city nearing 1 million inhabitants; or that everything is within walking distance, or maybe it’s the “homey” vibe that Florence just gives off that makes me feel so comfortable here?

Whatever the case, it didn’t take long for me to tell my parents and friends that I wanted to move here. It was a big revelation for me because after all of the trips I’ve taken in my life, the closest that I ever came to thinking, “Yeah, I can see myself living here,” were Miami and Los Angeles.

Not even Lima, Peru, my birthplace, and where almost all of my relatives live made the cut. Quite the opposite – I’ve repeatedly said that while I love visiting Lima, I could never live there. So when it dawned on me that I could actually picture myself living in Florence, I was shocked, but it was a good, welcoming realization.

Why do I love Florence?

Now that my time here is coming to a close, the reasons for my love of Florence have become clearer. I believe one of them is the persevered presence of its antiquity provides me with an endless supply of imagination. As a writer, I read and write every day. Living in Florence gave me a burst of creativity. I wrote articles for Florence University of the Arts during the day, and incessantly wrote my own stories at night. Whether it was in my apartment’s living room with the windows open, in a café down the street by the Duomo, or at the Piazza di Santa Croce which I passed every day to go to my internship, the words poured out of me, and it was just an exquisite sensation.

SU17_Summer in Florence_Megan Rabenberg_University of Minnesota Duluth3 Barbara Carranza Blog Home Away from Home Florence

Another reason for wanting to stay would have to be the breathtaking beauty of the city. Raised in a place where skyscrapers dominate the skyline, Florence offered a nice change of scenery. Instead of having the Bank of America Corporate Center, Duke Energy Center, and Bank of America Stadium in the horizon, there was the Duomo’s terracotta-lined dome, Giotto’s bell tower, Palazzo Vecchio’s Torre di Arnolfo, and the surrounding hills of the valley that the city lies in. At times, it made me feel like I was living hundreds of years ago, when Florence reigned supreme during the Renaissance. The architecture here, it’s indescribable. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and walking by these historic buildings every day has been a privilege.

FA18_Intern in Florence_Barbara Carranza_UNC Charlotte Home away from home florence

Parting Thoughts

Though I’m happy to return to my family and friends, I’m also sad to leave Florence. I’ll always carry the memories with me. I don’t know when I’ll return, but what I do know is that one day I will.

Read Barbara’s other CISabroad blog post, 3 Must-See Ghostly Destinations in Florence, or check out our Intern in Florence program to find your own home away from home.

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