Rachel is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Business Administration major at Merrimack College, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.
In this week's post, Rachel talks about where she is staying abroad this semester and introduces us to her Florence roommates.
Ciao! I have now been in Florence for a couple weeks now and I am enjoying everything about this tiny and unique city! My apartment in Florence has quickly become my home away from home. I live in a quiet area of Florence that is about a 15-minute walk to CAPA and around a 25-minute walk to the Duomo. Living a little outside of the busy area has given my roommates and I the chance to try local places in our neighborhood and to see another side of Florence.
Living room and kitchen
When I arrived to my apartment I was a little surprised, mainly because I had no idea what to expect. There were little things within the apartment that were smaller than I anticipated. For example, the shower and washer are significantly smaller compared to the size in the U.S. Also there are no dyers so we have to air dry our clothes out on racks, which can take a while. These difference aren't terrible, but do require a slight adjustment to our everyday routine.
I live with 4 girls from other schools. Our apartment is a good size with a kitchen, three bedrooms, and two bathrooms. When you first walk in there is a living room with a kitchen and two bedrooms. We have stairs that lead up to the bedroom I share with my roommate. Everyone has a desk, dresser, and closet (with tons of space) in their room. Our apartment came with towels, linens, and kitchen utensils!
Let me introduce my roommates Payton, Carly, Eleni, and Emily! Get to know them and their first thoughts.
Meet Payton, Carly, Eleni, and Emily!
Rachel Cholewinski: Where do you go to school?
Payton, Carly, and Eleni: CU Boulder
RC: Is there anything that has been surprising about living in the apartment or has been an adjustment?
Payton: I would say that my only adjustment has been not having a dryer in the apartment! Also just having to figure out how to open the windows has been tough because they are older and have shutters on the outside.
Carly: I would say the biggest adjustment has been getting use to less space in the bathroom and kitchen. Also just using different appliances for example a gas stove and not having a dish washer.
Eleni: I would say not having a dryer as well as how small the showers are. Those are probably the only main difference to these apartments, but once you get adjusted it isn’t bad!
Emily: Not having a toaster, it is definitely something that I miss having!
RC: Is there anything you wish you packed that you didn't?
Payton: More of my favorite pair of pants!
Carly: More sweaters, I guess. For the most part I feel like I packed everything I needed!
Eleni: I would say more sweaters; it has been colder than I expected!
Emily: More comfortable shoes, [since] we walk a lot every day!
Drying rack for dishes
RC: What is your favorite thing about living in this neighborhood?
Payton: I really like how close we are to Coop, the local grocery store!
Carly: It's far out of the touristy area, but you're also close enough to go to those areas if you want, so you get the best of both worlds. You are definitely forced to speak more Italian here when you’re going to grocery store. It is overall more of an authentic experience ordering food and living in this part of Florence.
Eleni: The walk to class is very nice, and we're really close to this cute coffee shop that I love to go to every morning!
Emily: There are a lot of locals, not as touristy as other areas. It is also a place I wouldn’t explore on my own, unless I lived here so it’s cool we get to live in a different part of Florence.
RC: How does the grocery store here compare to the one at home?
Payton: Everything is in kilos and Euros, which has been an adjustment when figuring out how to budget.
Eleni: I was surprised to find out that they don’t refrigerate their eggs here. Also, all the fruits and vegetables are so fresh!
Emily: The stores are definitely smaller and the packaging of food is in smaller amounts. Also, I’ve noticed that food here has an earlier expiration date!
RC: What are you looking forward to this semester?
Payton: Food and traveling on the weekends!
Carly: I really enjoy how everything that I am learning in class can be applied every day here. For example, my Italian class has been really beneficial in helping me communicate with others. I am also looking forward to working with my Ganzo family and immerse myself in this culture as well as practice my Italian. Also to just travel around Italy and other countries too!
Eleni: Traveling around Europe since we're close to many places and living in a foreign city!
Emily: Learning from different types of professors on an international level!
Main window at the apartment
RC: Any tips you would give to someone studying abroad?
Carly: My idea of going abroad was that I thought it was going to be really easy and cheap to travel to other places, but you quickly learn that things add up. You have to prioritize your top places that you want to go. Also, just factoring in your everyday expenses for food and grocery shopping! There are also little things within traveling that you don’t realize that factor in to expenses. Overall, everything is a huge learning experience!
Rachel's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.