The first few weeks in a new place are always a little confusing and hectic, but also exciting. All of these emotions are filling your entire body at the same time because all you can focus on is being in a new city in a new country on a new continent with new people – what an exhilarating feeling. These are all the emotions I am currently feeling too. Although, I have traveled quite often recently, I have grown more accustomed to the quick changes than someone who may not be quite so used to it. We all have to go through these cultural differences in order to make the absolute most of our time in a new and exciting place!
In my first week living in the Italian city of Firenze (Florence), I have just begun getting to know my FIVE other roommates – yes there are six of us!
We all come from various backgrounds and we all have something to offer to the table, which is always fun to learn. At this point, you are learning about other people which makes you learn just a little bit more about yourself too. Now that I have met my roommates immediately after landing in Florence, what’s next? What’s next is to get outdoors and start exploring. This is the spine-tingling, scary, but fascinating part of the whole experience! You will get lost. You will have to ask for directions. You will get stressed out. You will have to use a map and street signs like there is no such thing as a smart phone. But at the end of the day, you learn the way around your new city. You begin to connect and converse with locals. You find new destinations and cafes that you might never have found otherwise. And maybe you end this crazy day with a little gelato, making it all worth it. I did exactly this. I loved every minute of it.
After a few days of settling in to my new apartment with my five other roommates and discovering the city a little, it was time to get ready to attend class. Contrary to Marymount University having a central campus, Lorenzo de Medici University is within a city; therefore, it was a struggle to find my classrooms that would be randomly placed in a building in the middle of the city. But, you know what helped? Asking others who looked like students as well, or asking a local walking by. My first class of the semester was Italian. I was very apprehensive of taking Italian just because I knew it would be difficult, but I am now glad that we are required to take it as just after one class I feel as if I could get around the city even better having learned some material. So far, I have amazing views of the Duomo from my apartment window and balcony, which is amazing to see every day. I have made friends with my new American roommates. I have found some awesome places to stop in to for lunch on my way to class. And I have also already had to complete three pages worth of Italian homework – one step closer to immersing myself even more into the culture here in Firenze.
I am very excited to be here for the next four months, channeling my inner European-side.