The checkpoint I’ve been dreading is finally here. The end of midterms and our spring break marked the halfway point and now the end is unfortunately in sight. Midterms went surprisingly very well and maybe it’s because i’m living in florence, but there’s been no point where I dread going to class or completing my schoolwork. I’ve learned a lot up to my halfway point and finally feel like florence is my home where I can navigate without using maps on my phone and have become a regular at my favorite coffee shops and restaurants. I’ve made friends that will last a lifetime and have had the most incredible experiences that I will never forget. Travel is obviously one of the greatest appeals to prospective students of study abroad, and I never expected how much work it would be to travel. A semester is a long time but that’s only 13 weekends. So I made a list: the 10 places I had to go before I left. And then we started planning. So far, I have been to 8 countries and have plans to go to another 5. The biggest advice that I could offer regarding travel is to never forget about where you live. I spent my first month exploring not only florence, but Italy as a whole and fell in love with every city I stepped foot in. The hardest part for me has been adjusting to the culture and language barriers. I did not know Italian pre-departure and am still struggling to communicate on the level I hoped to be at halfway. It’s frustrating to not be able to ask or say what you want and knowing that you are lumped in with the rest of the American tourists that come and expect everyone to speak english back to them. My goal for my time remaining is to cherish and appreciate every second I have left living a dream in the most beautiful city there is. Time has never flown by faster than on study abroad.

(Lake Como, Italy and Interlaken, Switzerland)