Studying abroad at NYU Florence has been a whirlwind and such an incredible experience that is so difficult to put into words. Three months have passed and it still feels like I just got here and have so much to explore. This experience has been my very first time stepping on European soil! Prior to studying abroad, I had only been to Asian countries and Canada. This was an absolutely brand new event in my life and I have to admit that I was a bit nervous.
The first month I was fairly homesick and would talk to my family and friends at home quite often. Classes were easy and I enjoyed the change in pace (after finally getting over my jetlag). We were just beginning our planning of travels – and now that the semester is almost over, I have been so many places I don’t think I can count them on both hands! Venice, Interlaken and Bern (Switzerland), Paris (twice!), Verona, Padua, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Pisa, Morocco, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Milan, Lake Como, Barcelona, and Rome. And of course, exploring and living in Florence has been an experience of its own.
I am taking four classes: Italian, Renaissance Art, History of Italian Fashion, and Tourism Planning and Policy online. I have learned so much about the language, culture, fashion, and what Florence is most known for – its art history! Through my Renaissance Art class, I get to visit museums and galleries every week and learn about famous artwork by Michelangelo, Donatello, and other well known artists. My online tourism class has taught me well for my travels, and it is always so interesting to have these lessons from tourism in the back of my mind as I am traveling to different countries in Europe.
Florence is such a unique city. It has almost a movie-like feeling, as the streets are well preserved and not extremely metropolitan or urbanized. When walking through the streets I feel like I’m on a movie set and that everything is fake (but I promise it’s not). Florence also has amazing food. Pizza you can order at a restaurant for only 5€, pastas for under 10€, and wine for days. And don’t get me started on the gelato, because I get one cone or cup a day and have been doing so since my very first day here. My favorites are fragola (strawberry) and Nutella (which is so cheap here)! Some of my favorite places here consist of the NYU Florence campus, which is absolutely breathtaking (you need to see this at some point in your life. It makes all the traditional campuses in America jealous for sure) and Ponte Santa Trinita (which boasts a stunning view of the Ponte Vecchio as well as a great gelato shop at the end of the bridge).
I love walking around and realizing that this is my current home, in an entirely different country and that in a couple weeks it will be like a dream from the past.As much as I love Florence and living as an Italian, I do miss New York and the fact that everything stays open past 10pm. I would not trade this experience for anything else and feel so much more knowledgable and cultured, purely from traveling and learning through communicating with foreigners in their own countries. Thank you to NYU and everyone else who made this experience possible. This has truly been a once in a lifetime experience!