24 Hours Left…

Flight from New York to Rome, Train from Rome to Florence, Check-in at the University, get apartment keys and walk with my luggage to my apartment.  This is my travel itinerary that I keep repeating to myself as if I’m afraid I’m going to forget a step.  

Right now there are about 24 hours until I begin my journey to Florence, Italy to study abroad for the Spring 2020 semester.  I have never been outside the country besides driving to Canada a few times and going on a cruise to Bermuda when I was eight.  

I am full of so many mixed emotions, I am nervous yet so excited.  Some of my current worries that are on my mind are; Am I going to be able to make friends?  Am I going to be able to budget my money efficiently or am I going to run out of money and not do the things I want to do?  Am I going to stick out like an “American” too much with my horrible Italian skills and my non-mistaking Long Island accent?  Am I going to get really homesick? These are all questions that are spiraling through my mind as I pack the last of my things.    

However, not all of my thoughts are worries, I have been preparing and researching a lot for this and I can not wait to experience everything Itlay has to offer me.  I am most excited about all the traveling I will be doing. I have always had a sense of wanderlust but I never really had the opportunity to travel before this.  

When I’m studying abroad I want to take advantage of it all.  Go on as many weekend trips as I can, see things that I may never be able to see again, and eat as many new foods as possible.  Thankfully I have a ton of friends and family that have traveled to Italy before me and they all recommended so many restaurants and foods to try.  When I say I have a lot of recommendations, I mean I have a ten-page typed list of places to try, there are so many places on my list that even though I will be living in Florence for a whole semester I am not going to have the time to try them all.  

Even before I got to Florence I learned that the culture is very different than New York.  I have been a New Yorker my entire life and that being said, I live a pretty fast-paced life and always plan things months in advance.  At New Paltz, we get our schedule for the next semester and our On-Campus housing arrangements before we even finish the current semester.  

At Lorenzo de’ Medici, the Italian University I will be studying at, they do things a lot differently.  I got my schedule of classes about a month ago and I got my apartment location and the names of my three random roommates four days before arrival!  

Of course, as soon as I got my apartment address I looked up where it was on Google Maps and I toured the surrounding area using the ‘Google Maps Street View’.  My apartment is very old and beautiful and is attached to a Gelato place.  I can walk out of my front door and get fresh Gelato every single day. This will be so tempting but I’m sure after about a week of eating Gelato for breakfast, lunch, and dinner I will soon realize I need to maybe make it more of a treat item.  

Also, when I found out where my apartment was I messaged my friend from my hometown on Long Island who is currently studying in Florence through a different University, to see if we are going to live close to each other.  Turns out, we are living even closer than we do back home (and we live three blocks away), our apartments in Florence are literally 700 feet from each other! What a small world! Having someone there from back home definitely is making this huge transition a lot more comforting.  

I have been saying my goodbyes to my friends and family for weeks at this point, every time I’ve done something over winter break someone always found the opportunity to say “this is the last time we’ll…”  But, I just have to remind them and myself that this isn’t the “last time” I’ll ever see them, I’ll be home in approximately 3 and a half months. However, this is the longest amount of time I’ve ever been away from home and away from my family and friends. But, I’m glad that didn’t stop me from applying to this study abroad opportunity.  

This experience will most definitely make me step out of my comfort zone but I’m ready for it.  I can’t wait to make Florence, Itlay my new home across the globe.


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