This was definitely one of the saddest posts for me to write as I am very regretful that my time here in Florence is coming to an end! My three and a half months spent in Italy were a time full of excitement, exploration, ups, and downs, and spending this large amount of time away from home for the first time has been a truly transformative experience.
While I do miss my family and friends back home in New York, I know that thinking back to my semester in Florence will feel like a dream, a bittersweet memory that will forever stay with me. I will dearly miss the people I have met, places I have seen, and experiences that I have made here.
I have made irreplaceable experiences during my time abroad. For example, I was able to learn Italian in Italy. I have never learned a foreign language in the country where it was spoken, and it was enlightening, progressive and hands-on, practically a “learning by doing” approach to coursework as I was gradually able to increase my conversational skills in Italian and had tangible results of my progress. Learning the language turned my stay in Italy around since now, by the end of the semester, I feel more at ease and at home in the country than I did upon arriving. I feel like I am just now becoming more confident and competent in the Italian language, and I truly feel like an Italian, and the thought of going home and not having the opportunity to use the language in every day life leaves me feeling a little empty.
The biggest problems I faced while abroad were definitely logistical problems in the realm of travels and coordination with other people. A lot of time, energy, and money goes into traveling, and I somehow expected it to be easier prior to going abroad. I have had many mishaps happen and made many stupid mistakes during my stay in Italy and travels around the country and Europe, and I believe that this has taught me how to handle trying situations and how to remain calm when the near future looks bleak.
It was definitely supremely rewarding to not be in Manhattan for a semester. I felt like I could finally breathe while abroad; the pace of life is slower in Florence than in New York, and the pressure that I felt last semester in New York in regards to achievements, sense of style and social life dissipated. I really needed the time out and spending a semester in Florence was exactly what I needed to clear my head and get a firmer grasp on my mental state and well-being.
I am so glad that I took this course as it pushed me every week to reflect on my experiences and succession of the semester, to take a step back and analyze different aspects of my time abroad. I enjoyed it a lot as the assignments and book lists we were given were interesting and inspired thought. I felt like every week’s topic was relevant and I liked having an outlet where I could regroup my thoughts and think about my life from different angles. I would definitely take a course like this again, if any online blogging courses are offered in New York!
I cannot believe that this is my last post for this class. The time has truly flown by and I would not trade it for anything else. Ti amo, Firenze!