Arriving in Florence!

Ciao! My name is Diandra Marks and I am a Design and Merchandising student at Drexel University. As of September 7th, I have been studying abroad at the Italian University, Accademia Italiana, in the beautiful city of Florence, Italy! About 3 weeks has passed since I first arrived in Florence and it has flown by! I am excited to share all my thoughts and experiences throughout this 14 week journey. 

To begin, I am going to start with the first day I traveled to Florence from the Newark, New Jersey Airport. Although I was slightly apprehensive about this semester long trip to Italy, my excitement overpowered any worries I had about traveling alone and studying abroad for a significant amount of time. Luckily, my travel experience ran fairly smoothly. My layover into Frankfurt was on time and I was able to find my way through the airport and make it on to my flight to Florence with no problems. My anxiety from traveling in a foreign country by myself was finally at ease and within the first few minutes of arriving in Florence, I already felt more mature and accomplished. 

Right when I arrived to the apartment, I met with the landlord and was able to get my room key and settle in. The first impression I had of the landlord was that he was very nice and laid back. I came ready to pay for my first month right away, but he told me I can wait and pay him anytime next week because he still wanted to complete a leasing contract for me to sign. He also spoke english very well which I was extremely happy about. The language barrier was one of my main worries because although I had just completed Italian IV over the summer, I was not used to speaking it and conversing with a native speaker. In addition, my landlord was very helpful with any questions I had. I felt a lot better after speaking with him. He kindly explained to me where the nearest grocery store is and where my university is located as well. Although I could have asked a lot more questions, I figured that knowing the location of the school and grocery store was a good start. After about a ten minute long conversation, the landlord left and I was able to explore my new home.

To my surprise, the apartment ended up being nicer than I expected. The main kitchen area was fairly small and cozy, but I didn’t expect anything bigger considering Florence is a small city. There is a nice red couch, a TV, a dining room table, and a full kitchen with beautiful red cabinets. In addition to the kitchen area, there are two bed rooms, 2 full bathrooms, and spiral stairs leading up to a small terrace on the roof. The bed rooms are about the size of a dorm room, but I didn’t mind because I knew I wouldn’t be cooped up in my room too often. The terrace on the roof was my favorite part about the whole apartment. The spiral stairs leading up to it gave the room character and I knew the terrace would be a nice place to hang out when I am studying or doing my homework. In fact, I am sitting out here right now! Overall, everything was beautiful and I was very pleased with how my room looked. I could definitely see myself feeling at home within a few days. 

The spiral stairs leading up to the terrace  
The kitchen area in my apartment 

After exploring the room and settling in a bit, two of my roommates walked in from running a few errands outside. They moved into the apartment a day or two before me. Luckily, two of my roommates are students at Drexel as well so, I was able to meet them beforehand, but we were still just getting to know each other. Since my roommates arrived a day or two before me, they were able to introduce me to other students who have moved in on our floor. The entire building, which consists of two floors (4 rooms on the top floor and 2 rooms on the bottom floor) are only students who study at Academia Italiana. There were only two other girls who had just moved in so far because the majority of students were moving in the following day. In a way, I was glad that there were only two more people to meet so far because it was a long day of traveling and I knew it would be hard to get used to everyone’s names. That night, the five of us walked to a little restaurant in the piazza right outside of our apartment and I enjoyed my very first Italian dish of the trip. Spaghetti with seafood, my favorite! When I got back to my room that night I could not wait to shower and go to sleep right away. The first day was exhausting with studying and travel, but I was looking forward to exploring Florence and familiarizing myself with my new surrounds! 




  1. It's been getting a lot easier adjusting to the new language! The university is also an easy adjustment as well. My classes have not been overwhelming and my professors have been very helpful!

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