Looking back on my experience has only made me realize just how much I have changed as a person in only a few short months. Studying abroad changes you as a person. It changed me. The first few weeks can be rather intense. You are surrounded by new people, in a new place, with a foreign language. The transition is not the easiest. Here is my advice for studying abroad for a semester in Florence!
Tip #1: Learn a bit of the local language
First, if you do not know the local language, learn some of the basics. The basics are “hello, please, thank you, good-bye, yes, and no”. The locals always appreciate it if you try to learn some of their language, even if they speak English. It goes a long way.
Tip #2: Bring comfortable shoes!
You will do a lot of walking and probably a lot of stairs. It might be more than what you are used to and it will tire you out. In many places, you might be walking on uneven pavement. Those comfortable shoes are best.
Tip #3: Research, research, research!
Research Florence before you get there! Use Google maps to do a 3D tour of your neighborhood and the university. Learn the public transportation routes. Public transportation is very reliable and a cheap method of travel in Europe. It will be your best friend. Everyone uses it. It is simple and efficient. Remember to look at your options and remember that ride shares like Uber don’t operate in every country.
Tip #4: Eat all the foods!
Don’t be afraid to try new foods. Trying new foods is a great way to learn more about where you are studying. You might find a new favorite food. You will embrace the country that you choose to study in.
Tip #5: Try new things!
Finally, don’t be afraid to do new things. You studied abroad for a reason. It’s time to make the most of it. Meet new people, make new friends, have some fun, and travel. There is so much to see and do. Make the most of your study abroad.
But don’t forget your studies! 🤓