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What It’s Like to Study Abroad in Florence this Spring

Mar 9, 2021 10:00:00 AM / by Cara Pizzorusso

With the spring semester in full swing, our students in Florence are enjoying getting the hang of how life is abroad. Read their firsthand accounts from Florence including what surprised them initially about their host country and what they've liked about their experience thus far.

Our spring 2021 students arrived in Florence and Barcelona on January 30 and have been settling into their new homes, classes, internships, and routines. We asked students in Florence a few questions about their experiences so far, including why they chose to go abroad this semester and if there is anything that surprised them about their time abroad so far.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Spring2021_Florence_Hike to Piazzale Michelangelo

Without further ado, here are the responses from our adventurous cohort of students:

Why did you decide to go abroad this semester rather than deferring for a later term?

  • I chose to study abroad this term instead of holding off for another year because I knew it would be worth it. I knew that whatever the circumstances would be, I would learn more and grow more as a person. Even though there may be more restrictions now than ever, I was excited to have a chance to really immerse myself in the culture and community of Florence.

  • I have always wanted to study abroad, and I had always planned to go in the spring semester of junior year. When COVID hit, there was a lot of uncertainty around the possibility of studying abroad, but I tried to stay optimistic. I made backup plans for my school schedule, just in case study abroad wasn’t possible, and continued to plan to go to Italy. I decided to go abroad amidst all the uncertainty because it is hard to know when the pandemic will be over and when the world will be back to “normal”, so I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to study in a different country and experience a new culture in such a unique way.

  • I chose to go this semester because I felt this was the right time for me in school and I knew I wouldn't get this chance to explore a country this authentically. I have always had this plan to go abroad during this time in college, and I was really happy when this program was happening because I am lucky to have the chance to experience living like a local.

  • I would like to add that this was the best time to come abroad because I feel like I'm living like a local, I get to see places fully without having other tourists in my way. Places that are usually crowded are empty, so I get to see all the beauty.

Via San Leonardo

  • I feel so fortunate to be one out of so few students studying abroad here this semester. It is awesome that the people of Florence are so excited to have American students back and it gives everyone hope of going back to normal life.

  • I chose to go abroad this semester because I knew no matter what it would be an experience. I knew it would be a unique experience because it's during a pandemic but I would rather be stuck inside a house in Italy than in the States. I was still excited to experience the food and to enjoy the people in a new place. I thought it would be refreshing to do school here.

Piazza Duomo walking tour

What was something that surprised you in your first couple of days/weeks on-site?

  • Something that surprised and delighted me was the fact that we are some of the only Americans in Italy, so people have been very curious why we are here, and they have been very kind. It has been very nice to live in Florence without tourists and the experience has felt much more authentic.

  • I was surprised that people here were so excited to see and to know that American students were back. I thought they would be a little annoyed or scared that we would bring the virus back. I didn’t think about the economic aspect of us being back here.

  • What surprised me the most is that a lot of people speak English. If I say buongiorno to someone, they will start speaking English back to me. This is comforting because there isn't that language barrier, but it's still interesting. It is also nice because they will help you out if I am struggling with my Italian. Italians are very friendly and happy that Americans are here. There have only been smiles and excitement when I say I am from America.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Spring2021_Florence_At CAPA Florence

What do you appreciate the most about support you have received from CAPA before you left and the beginning of this semester on-site?

  • I really appreciate all of the hard work and effort that CAPA has put into making our experience the best it can be. The first two weeks in quarantine were hard, but they made it so much better with activities every day, whether it was a fun cooking class or a virtual game night. I feel lucky to have teachers that really care about my education and such a great program that wants me to succeed.

  • I really appreciated all of the virtual activities CAPA planned for us during our two-week quarantine. My favorite events were the cooking lessons over Zoom—the CAPA staff brought us all the ingredients we needed to cook and taught us how to make the perfect dish!

Zoom cooking class risotto alla zucca

  • I appreciated the optimism from all the CAPA staff before the trip and when we first got here. Their optimism encouraged me to stay optimistic and brought excitement. I also appreciated the honesty of the program and warned us that we will oftentimes have to quarantine and be flexible with government regulations regarding COVID but that it will still be fun.

  • I appreciate the effort and work the CAPA put into making our quarantine comfortable. They had a range of online activities including a game night and cooking night! Everyone is so friendly and willing to help us find the right places to go, good things to look for with food, and groceries. It's incredibly helpful and comforting to have an adult figure to guide us throughout this experience. There are constant updates and making sure everyone is on the same page, and they genuinely care about our well beings.

Walking tour

Stay tuned to hear more from our in-country and online bloggers and vloggers throughout the semester!

Planning ahead to study abroad in the future? Take a look at all of our programs to find one that’s right for you:

Learn more: All CAPA Courses (2021)

Topics: Florence, Italy, Why Study Abroad