Just Days Away From Florence

Sep 7, 2017 4:30:00 PM / by Irene Kanthan


Hayley is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Communication and Media major at  Merrimack College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In her first post, Hayley shares why Florence is her study abroad choice and how she plans on reconnecting with her artistic side.


Studying abroad has been a dream of mine ever since I was in middle school. It’s hard to believe that I’m just days away from departing from the United States and heading to Florence for the semester. During these last few days at home, I’ve done a lot of thinking about why I am truly participating in a semester away from my college, friends, and family. I’ve come to realize that this experience that I’m about to embark on will not only fulfill my need to travel but will also help me grow as a person.

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One of the main reasons why I chose to study abroad is because I felt like I wanted something different in my life. Don't get me wrong, I love Merrimack and the experiences I have there. But, I felt as if sometimes the days would seem repetitive. Wake up, go to class, go to the gym, hang out with friends, maybe study, then go to bed. This routine was fine and it kept me on track during the week, but I’ve come to the point in my life where I just needed something more. Also, because I’ve spent 20 years of my life living in a small town just south of Boston, I felt that I NEEDED to get out there and see the world. Because I needed something different in my life, I decided that there's no better way to make a change then to plop myself in the middle of a completely different culture and study abroad in Florence for a few months.

Although there are millions of reasons to choose Florence, Italy, as a study abroad destination, I chose Florence mostly because I have Italian genes and I would love to see where my family roots from. The food also played a huge role in my decision to choose Florence because if you know me, you know about my slight pizza addiction. I’m also very excited to be living in the cultural epicenter of Italian Renaissance art. I’ve always had a love for art, but recently I feel as if I have lost touch with that side of me. Hopefully being in Florence will help me reconnect with my artistic side. Overall I have high expectations for my experiences in Florence. Before I made my decision to choose Florence I did a lot of research about the city and talked to students who previously studied there. Everyone I talked to had nothing but amazing things to say about their experiences there, and that sold me! I haven’t arrived yet, but Florence already has my heart!

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Although I’m trying to go into this experience with a completely open mind, I have some worries. One of them, of course, is about dealing with the language barrier and traveling. Although I will be taking a course on beginners Italian during my studies, I feel like it will be very confusing trying to navigate through airports and other transportation stations while in Europe. I guess we’ll just have to see and find out! Another worry I have is about missing out back at school. I have a large friend group at Merrimack and we’re all extremely close. I made the decision to take a semester to myself in Italy while the rest of my friends will be staying at Merrimack. I have a major case of FOMO and will miss my friends so incredibly much while I’m away, but I’m excited that I will be able to tell them stories about my experience when I return home!

Being just days away from hopping on a plane to Florence I am completely excited and anxious to get there. I am most excited to be able to get a bigger view of the world and have a new appreciation for a different culture. I’ve always lived by the saying “adventure is worthwhile” and I am positive that this adventure will impact my life forever!

Goodbye Boston, hello Florence! 

Thanks Hayley!

Hayley's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Florence Program

Topics: Florence, Italy, Study Abroad, First Thoughts