Ciao from Firenze! We’re Hannah and Danielle and we are junior elementary and special education majors studying abroad this semester in Florence! We’ve been here for two and a half months so far and there is so much that we could talk about but we will keep it short and sweet.
It’s sunny and 60 degrees here in Florence this week, which is not the typical weather you’d expect two days before Thanksgiving, but we’re not complaining. Speaking of Thanksgiving, that is one of the strangest parts of being here, seeing all of our friends at home posting pictures of going home for the holiday and hearing our families plan their Thanksgiving dinners when in fact Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday here. Luckily for us, our program directors are putting together little dinners for all of us so we aren’t completely missing out on the holiday and we get a little taste of home. In fact, since Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday that is celebrated here we’re both going to be on our way to different countries on Thanksgiving day, Danielle is going to London for the weekend and Hannah is going to Switzerland, so I guess you could say it’s a pretty worthwhile trade off for missing Thanksgiving.
Travel has been one of the best parts of our experience here. It is so easy to go to so many different countries at such cheap prices. Also being able to visit so many different countries that we didn’t know much about beforehand has helped us to learn so much more about other cultures and people from other cultures. We are so happy to have been able to see and experience so many new places and are sad that we are approaching some of our last trips of the semester.
Another great part about our time abroad has been living in Florence. This city has so much to offer. You can walk EVERYWHERE, no exaggeration, which is nice compared to some cities we have visited where you have to take a bus or taxi to get from place to place. The food of course is delicious. There are cafes, gelato shops, and Panini places around every corner with delicious coffees and foods. Also, the central market in Florence has an amazing selection of cheap and fresh food as well as a large leather market where bargaining is half the fun.
One of the best things that our program offers is the opportunity for us to student teach in the local Italian schools. This has truly been an eye-opening experience for all of us. Teaching an entire classroom of ELL students is one of the most rewarding classroom experiences we have had so far. It is definitely hard work planning the lessons extra carefully to make sure that our students will understand what we are teaching, but when the students understand and enjoy your lesson its worth every second. Danielle is in a fourth grade classroom this semester with twenty students and Hannah is in a third grade classroom also with twenty students. Although we weren’t exactly sure what to expect before we started teaching in the Italian schools, we are so grateful to have had this experience.
We could go on for hours, but we’ll end it there. Good luck to any sophomores currently making study abroad decisions, but just know that whatever you decide will be amazing. We have both loved every second of our experience abroad and know that you will too! Ciao for now!