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Living Like a Local in Florence: Embracing Differences and Adjusting Accordingly

Sep 18, 2018 12:30:00 PM / by Connor McGlone

Connor McGlone

Connor McGlone is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Marketing and Supply Chain Management major at  University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Connor shares the differences he's observed between his Florence apartment and apartments he's had in the US, as well as what he's doing to adjust to living like a local.

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Living in a flat in Florence has been a completely new living experience for me. While there are many aspects of the living situation that are different, the setup of my apartment is standard compared to my apartment back home. It has 2 bedrooms, a common area, a bathroom, and a kitchen. It is slightly small but has all of the necessities a person needs.

My BedroomEach room has 2 people living in it. Each person gets their own desk and dresser as well!

There are several differences in appliances and utilities in Florence, or the lack thereof. The first is that there is no clothes dryer. We have a drying rack and lines outside our rooms to hang up our clothes for us to dry. I was slightly concerned before coming to Florence about how this would work or if it would ruin my clothes. However, after washing and drying my clothes for the first time I realized it is not as big of a deal as I thought.

Hanging and Drying Our ClothesThese are some clothes hanging out our flat's windows to dry!

Another difference I have observed in my new apartment is the hot water. I have had some trouble with taking hot showers like I am accustomed to in the states, because the shower water here simply does not stay hot for as long as I am used to. This is something I am becoming accustomed too, and since it has been so sunny and hot in Florence it has not affected me much.

Finally, I have realized there is a lot of noise on the streets of my apartment throughout the night. People stay out and eat or socialize until the early morning so there is constantly background noise.

While these things are all slightly difficult to adjust to, it is something I have been able to embrace and live with. Considering I am living in such an amazing city, I have not spent too much time in my flat anyway unless I am cooking, doing laundry, or sleeping. The less time I spend just lounging around in my room the more time I have to explore the city of Florence.

Our Flat's KitchenA look inside the kitchen of our flat. It has an oven, stove, microwave, and a small table. 

There are also plenty of positive differences about my apartment in Florence compared to the United States. For one, my flat mates are great! They are from Boulder, Colorado and Brooklyn, New York. Being from Philadelphia and having lived and been around people from the east coast my entire life, it has been refreshing to live in the same apartment now as people from across the country.

Another positive is my surroundings. Right outside of my building I have a restaurant, park, shops, and grocery store all within a 2 minute walk of me. This has been extremely convenient for me and my flat mates. It is accessible and quick to pick up a coffee on the way to class or pasta sauce right before dinner! Most of the restaurants and stores’ employees speak English as well so it is not too confusing to order or checkout. However, I find it useful and fun to try and speak to them in the little amount of Italian that I do know. There is no better way to learn a language than to try and speak in it with a native speaker. The employees are generally very helpful and appreciative when someone makes the effort to speak their language.

Playground in Our NeighborhoodPark located right outside our flat. It has playground rides, soccer fields, 
and is a great place to just relax and read a book.

On the topic of native speakers, the other tenants of the building have been extremely welcoming. They are friendly towards us, unlike some of my neighbors in the US, where I often do not know or communicate with them. I noticed that in Florence the tenants usually greet each other and are affable to one another. It has made me and my flat mates much more comfortable knowing that the people living around us are all nice and helpful people despite our cultural differences. Getting used to all these differences has certainly been a learning curve, but it has been enjoyable every step of the way.

Thanks, Connor!

Connor's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Florence Program

Topics: Florence, Italy, Predeparture & Study Abroad Preparations