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How A Semester in Florence Changed My Perspective and My Future

Jan 19, 2019 10:35:00 AM / by Payton Meyer

For Payton Meyer, studying abroad was a chance to see what her future could look like. After experiencing a multicultural and global society and interacting with people from different ethnicities, she's drawn to the magnitude of possibilities that the world holds for her. In her last post, Payton reflects on the most influential highlights of her study abroad experience and what's next for her.

As nice as it feels to be back home, I’m sad to be writing my last blog post for CAPA, and reflecting back on my semester abroad is much more difficult than I was anticipating. I don’t even know where to begin. I’m still processing everything that this semester has brought me, but I can confidently say that it was the best four months of my life.

Studying in Florence with CAPA was my first time ever even visiting Europe, and the longest I’ve ever been away from my hometown. Needless to say, I lived a very different lifestyle up until I arrived to my new home in August 2018. Therefore, my experience had a rather large effect on me, and helped me to realize a lot about myself, other cultures, how things came to be the way that they are now, etc...

View of Duomo form Florence Hillside_FilmView of Duomo from the Florentine Hillside on 35mm film.

One of the biggest things I took away from my experience abroad is a sense of where I’d like to end up in the future. I’ve been to over 40 US states, and yet have never visited one that I’ve felt like I could take permanent residence in after college. However, in almost every European city that I visited during my semester abroad (22 to be exact), I found myself thinking, “Wow, I want to live here someday.” It’s something about the ambience, or the people, or the history of these places... I can’t really put my finger on it, but I know that I want to live somewhere in Europe again, as soon as possible. I even found out that Paris and Amsterdam, which happened to be two of my absolute favorite cities in Europe, (apart from Florence, of course), are the advertising capitals of Europe, which happens to be my major, so I can’t wait to explore future career opportunities there.

Sunny shot of Ponte Vecchio_35 mm filmA sunny shot of Ponte Vecchio on 35mm film.

I also learned quite a bit about the world outside of Boulder, Colorado. Boulder, although I did love growing up there, is somewhat lacking in ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. I didn’t realize the magnitude of this, however, until living in a metropolitan city for four months. Florence, being that it is a global city, had residents of all backgrounds, and it was very cool to live amongst people from different cultures than me, and learn about them. In contrast, I also met a lot of people that are more like me than I was expecting, given that we grew up in different parts of the world. The kids in my Ganzo! family, for example, knew a lot of the same pop culture references as me, and related to my feelings and experiences regarding quite a few subjects, which was a pleasant surprise. Learning new things and different perspectives from them, as well as laughing with them about the same memes and tv shows and whatever else that we had previously been laughing to ourselves about from countries apart made my meetings with them that much more enjoyable. I plan to head back to Florence to visit them soon.

Streets of Florence_35 mm FilmThe streets of Florence on 35mm film.

Lastly, I think that Florence has inspired in me a much greater appreciation for historical context. One of my absolute favorite things about studying in Florence was learning about the history of the renaissance firsthand, and the impact that it has had on the rest of the world as we know it, whether it be Dante’s literature, Raphael’s paintings, Michelangelo’s sculptures, Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions, Galileo’s discoveries about the universe, the Medici’s fondness for collection and display of beautiful things, etc... All of these things happened in Florence, and influenced so much of the city and even the rest of the world today. And I have to say, I wasn’t expecting my favorite part of study abroad to be the academics. I have never been so interested in history until learning about the history of Florence, and I can’t wait to bring my newfound curiosity with me to all the new places I’ll go and see what new discoveries I’ll make.

Rainy Shot of the Arno and Ponte Vecchio_35 mm filmA rainy shot of the Arno and Ponte Vecchio on 35mm film.

This semester has taught me so much, and brought me new friends from all different parts of the world, so much joy, and a greater appreciation for the world that I live in. Thank you, CAPA. I can’t wait to go back.

Ponte Vecchio at Sunset_35 mm FilmThe Ponte Vecchio at sunset on 35mm film.

I left Florence with 6 rolls of film, with 36 pictures on each of my time there. I finally got them all developed, and thought I’d share some of my favorites with you for my last blog post. I hope you've enjoyed them.

Piazza della Repubblica Carousel and Musicians_35 mm FilmPiazza della Repubblica carousel and musicians on 35mm film.

Thanks, Payton!

Payton Meyer

Payton Meyer is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Strategic Communication major at  University of Colorado Boulder, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

See more of Payton's journey in Florence.

Learn More about the CAPA Florence Program

Topics: Florence, Italy, Why Study Abroad