So far my experience in Florence has been amazing! While at first there were certainly many things I had to adjust to about daily life in Italy, I definitely think that I have embraced the Italian culture and adjusted to a different lifestyle. The hardest things for me were the time difference (6 hours ahead can sometimes make it difficult to communicate with friends and family at home), not having a dryer, and the language barrier. All of these were easy to overcome naturally since everyone was going through similar struggles and it was something we could all bond over!
My classes here are a little different than classes at PC because for most of them we only meet one time a week for 2 1/2 hours. I am taking two education courses along with the other 16 PC EDU girls (Diversity in Education and Language and Literacy 2) as well as 3 electives (Beginner Italian, History of the Holocaust, and Food, Culture, and Society in Italy). My favorite class is my Food, Culture, and Society in Italy class since food is such a valued part of Italian society! This class is very hands on because our teacher lectures for a portion of the class about how food is utilized in the society and where in Italy certain foods come from and then the second half is more hands on with us either cooking a meal, going to a market, or having a taste test either in the classroom or around the city of Florence. We also have a field trip to Parma and Modena to visit different farms where Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, and prosciutto ham are produced! We are starting our practicum experience next week and I will be teaching in a 4th and 5th grade classroom! I am so excited (but also nervous) to have the opportunity to experience teaching in a foreign school!
Even though we have only been here for 5 weeks I have managed to fit in a ton of exploration and traveling! Last weekend, we went on a school trip to different towns in the Tuscany region including: Perugia, Assisi, Sienna, and San Gimignano. I really enjoyed this field trip because each of the towns was so different and unique. It was also interesting since in my Western Civ classes we talked a lot about St. Francis of Assisi and St. Catherine of Sienna so it was incredible to visit the towns where they lived and the churches in which their memorials are! Highlights of that trip also included the famous world award-winning gelateria in San Gimignano, a wonderful stay at a comfy hotel with a delicious dinner, and beautiful sceneries in all of the towns! Besides the school trip I have also traveled with friends to Croatia, the Amalfi Coast (Sorrento, Capri, Positano, Pompeii), Cinque Terre, and this past weekend to Munich, Germany to attend Oktoberfest with tons of other PC students who are also studying abroad in various places. We also have a fall break in late October when I’ll be traveling to Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Paris! Around Florence my favorite places are the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, the Central Market, the Piazza Michelangelo, Santa Crocce, and the Boboli Gardens! This Wednesday about 20 PC girls also gathered to go to the Fiorentina soccer game. It was an amazing experience because Florentines take great pride in their soccer team!
It’s hard to believe that already five weeks of my time abroad have already passed! There is so much more to experience and do here and so little time! Being
abroad is certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m thrilled to be here. Hopefully the next 11 weeks will only further my love for Firenze!