From There to Here

I am currently about halfway through my time here in Florence, Italy. It feels both as if I just arrived here yesterday and like I have been here for years. Before this experience I had never been to Europe. Now it feels just as familiar as my hometown. I have learned a lot about various cultures (Italy alone has 10 specific cultural identities) and a lot about myself. Though I am only halfway through, I have had the pleasure of visiting Belgium, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and countless cities right here in Italy.

I understand that many students post a pre-departure blog, however, I thought I would provide some helpful tips after having been here awhile. Later I will summarize my favorite trips so perhaps you can also enjoy the adventure. In addition, I am well aware reverse culture shock is bound to happen, so hopefully at that point I will be able to provide tips on how to appropriately deal with those emotions. Here is what I know so far.

The Stuff

When packing for your trip abroad I know you think you need your whole existence with you. Take half of what you originally put out to bring.

On those weekend trips you will learn that if you really need it, it will fit in a backpack.

The Mindset

Please know that Europe is not a country of convenience. Things will irritate you. Just keep in mind that this way of life is what the citizens are comfortable with and try to become comfortable alongside them. I am still working on a few nuances of European life.

Me as of Now

I generally have the hang of things here in Italy, but I am always learning.

Before arriving here I questioned whether or not I would ever set foot on so many beautiful places. Now that I’m here I only hope others can make this journey as well.