The end of a semester abroad brings a waterfall of memories and daily experiences you'll miss. Alexis looks back with fondness on the 5 things that shaped her life abroad in Florence.
My fall semester abroad in Florence with CAPA has come to an end. Today, I’m looking back on my four months abroad and reflecting on what I miss about living and studying in Italy.
1. My Roommates
Without a doubt I miss my roommates tremendously! All four of us came into the program not knowing one another. We bonded so quickly and truly became the best of friends. Within the first week we realized how much each of us loved to travel. It was amazing to plan a weekend trip and to go explore with new friends. It truly made my study abroad experience so much better. We all agreed that CAPA’s housing coordinators did a phenomenal job matching us as roommates; we could not imagine living with anybody else.
My favorite memory with my roommates will always be walking to the top of the Piazza Michelangelo and having an aperitivo in the Rose Garden as we watched the sun set. It was such a surreal moment. I believe this moment is when we all realized we were about to embark on this amazing journey together. I will truly miss them and will forever be grateful for CAPA for pairing us together.
Caption: My three amazing Roommates and I in Rome.
2. My Italian Family
I am very fortunate that I have a whole set of aunts, uncles, and cousins who live in Italy. I was able to travel on the weekends to go spend time with them. It allowed me to connect with cousins that I haven't seen in years. They showed me the ins and outs of what it means to be an Italian.
I will never forget going to an AS Roma soccer game with my cousin on Halloween. I was going to get a hotdog to eat because that's what you do at sports games in the US. Apparently not in Italy! He explained to me that it is very easy to spot an American at a soccer game because they are eating a hotdog. He told me to look around and to see if I saw anyone else eating. I couldn't believe that not a single person was eating or drinking! He explained that Italians don't eat during the game because their attention is 100% on the game; it's a very serious matter! You go and eat after the game.
This was just one of the many adventures I went on during my time in Italy. I even climbed Gran Sasso with my cousin. Did I mention that this is the second tallest mountain in Italy? The view was amazing! I am so happy that being in Italy allowed me to connect with loved ones that I will probably not see for many years.
Caption: My cousin and I climbing Gran Sasso.
3. The Food
I bet most people saw this one coming! As cliche as it may sound, the food in Italy is the best. The gelato, pizza, and pasta will without a doubt be missing in my little Italian heart. The quality of food in Italy is much better than in America due to higher standards. My roommates and I learned this quickly when we bought fruits and veggies because they would go bad much quicker in Italy due to the quality of freshness compared to the US.
I took the Food and Culture class at the CAPA Florence Center and it made my appreciation for Italian cuisine only grow. I learned so many interesting facts like how to tell if the gelato is real gelato. If the gelato is piled high like a mountain or is not covered with a tin lid, keep on moving!
4. The History
I am a big history buff, especially when it comes to art history, hence why I took the Renaissance Art History course at CAPA. Florence is the heart of Renaissance Art, so what better place to take this course than in Florence, Italy! This course was one of my favorite courses at CAPA. During each class session, we learned about the artwork for the first two hours, then for the last hour we went on field trips to go see the pieces in person. Not many people get to say that they went and saw what they were learning in class! It made my experiences so enriching. I developed a greater understanding for the importance of art especially during the Renaissance period. In every corner of Florence, you are bound to find some history, which I think is truly so magical about living here.
Caption: A quick selfie in front of the Birth of Venus.
5. The Culture
In America everything is so fast paced! I will admit I am guilty of planning ahead and falling into this American stereotype. In Italy I learned that life is best enjoyed at a slower pace. It is to be surrounded by friends and family. Work will always be there but time will not. I also never thought I would miss aperitivos so much. My roommates and I would go often and decompress. We would chat about our days and then head on over to dinner.
“La Vita è Bella” means Life is Beautiful! I heard this phrase over and over and I couldn't agree more. Life is truly beautiful especially with friends and families so it best to slow down and just enjoy the ride!
I could go on forever talking about what I miss in Italy. With these sweet memories I hope to come back soon to travel and explore even more! Till next time, arrivederci!
Alexis' journey continues all semester so stay tuned.