It is now the fourth week of my study abroad experience and I am happy to say I am just as excited as I was when I first arrived in Florence. Prior to studying abroad, I was nervous about the “emotional rollercoaster” that people told me typically happens during your semester abroad. This “emotional rollercoaster” is the series of emotions you may encounter while you are away. The first week or two is known to be very exciting because everything is new and you are constantly meeting new friends. The next stage you typically hit is the “depression stage”. Throughout this stage, the the new, fresh feeling you had as you first landed has faded and your work load picks up in school. In addition, you begin to miss your friends and family at home and you realize you have to adjust to the different cultures and customs of the country you are in. Luckily, I would consider myself in the second phase of this “emotional rollercoaster” and I have not been sad at all. Although the Italian culture and the language they speak are different, I am able to hold on to a positive attitude and try my best to learn the Italian style.
Although I do not have Italian in my blood, I am obsessed with the language and the culture, so it makes sense why I would choose to study abroad here. Practicing Italian is a lot harder than I thought it would be (the majority of people here speak fluent english) so in hopes of becoming fluent and learning about the Italian lifestyle, I became friends with an Italian student named Alice who goes to Accademia Italiana as well. My Italian professor introduced us to each other in the hallway when I was on my way to class. We exchanged numbers and she answered back to me that same day! I am so excited this happened because I wanted to meet an Italian student from the start, but I found it difficult because I didn’t have any classes with them and I am not yet confident enough with the Italian language to go up to a random Italian in the hallways and start speaking to them in their language. Luckily, Alice is very nice and welcoming. We just met a few days ago and have already planned on meeting sometime this week or next week. I’m excited to finally practice Italian and to learn more about her! I’m so curious about the places she shops at or where her favorite bars and restaurants are. I’m a little nervous to meet with her because unlike texting, I know I do not have google translator in front of me to help me out! I feel like this will be a great push for me to practice Italian and I will hopefully get the insight I’m looking for so I do not have to feel like an american tourist anymore.
This past week was a very busy one for me. In addition to meeting a new Italian friend, I finally got myself a phone with an Italian number! I wasn’t going to get an Italian phone at first because my parents got a texting plan for me so I can text back home, but I needed a number for around here just in case I needed to get in touch with someone from Italy and I didn’t have wifi. Fortunately, I found a phone store where you can rent a basic Nokia phone for free and you pay as you go. Texts cost 12 cents per outgoing text and calls cost 15 cents a minute. It was the most perfect option for me and now I will be prepared in case of an emergency!
Even though I’ve been very busy with everything, I have not been feeling overwhelmed at all and I am still looking forward to the new experiences during this semester. It is already flying by!