The biggest challenge I have faced during my time in Italy is balancing studying, sightseeing, fun time, and relaxation. I have been kept super busy with everything that our program has had planned for us, but in my free time I struggle between having chill time to recharge myself and going out and having fun. I have honestly been so exhausted this entire trip, and I know my body needs rest, but my internal monologue is telling me to keep going; I can sleep when I’m back in Pittsburgh! (When in Rome … or should I say Florence)
I think part of the reason that I have been struggling with this is because of the length of time I will be in Florence. Three weeks is a long enough time that I don’t need to be doing activities all the time, but a short enough time that I feel like I need to try to pack in as much as I can while I am here! From facing this challenge, I have learned a lot about setting personal boundaries with myself and also how to make the most of my (limited) time.
I definitely believe other students studying abroad will encounter something similar to this experience. All of the international students I have talked to, both in my program and in other programs, since I have been here have felt the same way, as well as my friends who studied abroad during the spring semester. My advice for dealing with this is to remember to be gentle with yourself and know that it is okay to take a break!
On another happier note, last weekend me and two of my friends from Pitt did some independent traveling and took an overnight trip to Venice! We took a train there from Florence that lasted about 2 hours and rented an Airbnb for the night. While we were there, we went on a tour of a glass blowing factory and got to make a piece of jewelry! Glass blowing actually originated in a small island off of Venice called Murano.
Venice was beautiful, but it definitely had some secretive and ominous vibes. It was also super hot there. The rivers and waterways everywhere was very cool to see, and there was not a car in sight! They also had great seafood: some meals I had were spaghetti with mussels and clams and gnocchi with salmon.