So it’s nearing the end of study abroad. I’ve got one full day left and let me just say I’ve learned a lot. There’s some things you might want to know before you head to Florence. First, your layover to Florence is going to be the worst of the entire study abroad experience, so at least you get that out of the way on day 1. Don’t pack more than 2 long sleeve shirts, and leave some more room in your suitcase— you’re going to buy a lot of things. It will become normal to sweat all day and itch your mosquito bites. Don’t complain, just get used to it. Plan the places you want to go and the things you want to see ahead of time. Time goes by so fast, and you want to make sure you do everything you want to do. Take pictures of everything, you’re going to want to look back at them. Don’t fall for tourist trap restaurants and gelato that looks pretty. Ask locals for recommendations on where to go and eat, your professors and CAPA staff members will have plenty.
You’re going to travel around a lot and it’s going to be awesome! Some of the highlights have been going to Elba Island, Pisa, Milan, Siena, Croatia, and Cinque Terre. Exploring new places and figuring out how to get around has been both challenging yet rewarding. That Cinque Terre hike will be amazing, but you’ll learn that there is no limit to how much you can sweat. You’ll get to see Kendrick Lamar in concert in Milan, something that probably doesn’t even sound real to you. And it’ll be one of the best concerts you’ve ever been to. However, spending days and nights in Florence is equally as fun. Exploring different museums, trying so many restaurants, checking out markets, and exploring all different areas of the city has been such an incredible experience. Come in with an open mindset, say yes to things, and just know that it will all work out in the end. Set reasonable goals like trying new foods, hitting all of the spots on your list of places to go, taking lots of pictures, getting adequate sleep, going on solo adventures, and enjoying every moment. Once again, it goes by so fast. You will go go go every single day, and it will be exhausting at times. But, it is so worth it. Savor every moment, even when it’s 104 degrees. You’re in Italy!!!
– Alexis Hammer