Hi there! My name is Raegan Hall, and I spent my senior fall semester in Florence, Italy. Where to begin? I fell head over heels in love. From the rich history, the masterpieces hidden on nearly every street, the FOOD (oh my goodness, it was good – plus gelato!), to the grand and perfectly renaissance architecture surrounding you. It is one thing to study in a beautiful city; it is another entirely to be enveloped in a rich culture. However, this blog is not about how extraordinary Florence is. You can simply do a quick Google, Tik Tok, or Pinterest search and find that answer for yourself. My reasoning is from an economical and rational perspective. 

Firstly, the university I attended, Lorenzo de Medici, favored short class weeks and long weekends. I only had classes on Tuesday and Wednesday, and most of my classmates were either the same or maybe had classes three days a week at most. My five-day weekend allowed me tons of freedom for travel. During my time abroad, I was able to visit nine different countries and many Italian cities. 

Now, many universities abroad emphasize long weekends, so the second reason why you should choose Florence is its convenience of incredibly affordable travel options. Since it is a very centrally located city in Italy, you have quick and cheap access to most of the major airports in Italy by their High-Speed Rail. I flew out of Rome, Milan, Bologna, Venice, and Pisa – choosing airports based on who had the cheapest flights. When I refer to cheap, I mean anywhere ranging from $8 dollars to $60 dollars depending on the location and airline. For contrast, my friend who studied in beautiful Switzerland only had one airport she could fly from, whose flight costs usually sat around $100 and up. 

You may be thinking at this point: “Well, I could study somewhere in the UK, or maybe France or Germany for similar benefits – they also have lots of cheap airports to choose from!” My counterargument for this, and I might be speaking to a small audience here, but, those places are COLD. I loathe the cold, and I especially loathe the cold when I can’t drive a car everywhere I need to go. A small culture shock for me in Europe was how much I had to walk every day. So by the end of my semester, I was incredibly grateful I picked a country that was, on average, fairly warm-temperatured and good-weathered. I loved my trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, and Cologne, Germany, but one cold weekend in these beautiful cities was enough for me. 

Florence is also one of the less expensive European cities. I spent, on average, maybe $15 dollars a day (if that) on delicious Italian food. So, If going by my aforementioned standards, there are still a few great cities to choose from, like Madrid, Nice, Barcelona, and Rome (Even Portugal, which is probably the most inexpensive and warm; it just has slightly fewer convenient flight options). Here is my last argument for Florence over these cities – and it is a purely opinion-driven argument. You will live in the birthplace of the Renaissance. This tiny city in Europe defined much of modern thought and set the tone for art, philosophy, and so much more. If you are not a huge fan of history and art like I am, then choose Florence for its lively night-life with so much charisma, but a safer and calmer feel than many other European cities. Choose Florence for her Gelato on every street corner. Choose Florence for a city with little traffic, aesthetic cobblestone streets, and kind and bubbly citizens. Also, Italian was an incredibly fun language to learn bits and pieces of. Allora, I have done my best to convince you! The last piece of advice I will give you is that wherever you study abroad, you are in control of how much you enjoy your time. External factors can make things difficult, but if you really make the decision to fully love where you go – everything might fall into place in beautifully unexpected ways. 


Raegan 🙂

my insta is @raegann.hall if you wanna check out some of my posts from my time abroad hehe