In Florence, The Art of Travel Spring 2018, 15. Farewells by Annie2 Comments

As my semester in Florence comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on the last four months of my life. My time abroad changed me in ways I did not think possible. I don’t think I will ever have the ability to travel so freely and so often again in my life. I’ll treasure the times I was able to jet off to a foreign country and discover a new city with friends. My family and friends from home have told me over the past week “you seem so different and more mature.” And I’m not at all surprised by this comment, because I really feel that I’ll approach things differently when I get home. For one, I’ve developed more patience thanks to the land of inconvenience here in Italy! While I will miss Italy, I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for America, which I never thought would be possible. Generally, no one cares if the trains are running late or if people walk slowly in the streets. Just the other day, I saw someone leave a toddler out on the sidewalk while they haggled in a leather store over a bag. This would NEVER be ok in America! (Atleast not in Manhattan!) But it is just a more relaxed way of life. In having to adjust to this way of life, I’ve adjusted some traits of my own. I never was the most patient person and I’ve always attributed this to my “go-getter” personality. It is difficult for me to understand people that have a more relaxed approach because it is so opposite of my own. But I now can understand (Because I have been forced to live around it these past four months!)

One idea I’ve had about continuing my travel back home is taking road trips. I’ve always wanted to take road trips with friends but something always came up and stopped us from being able to. This summer, I really want to go out West and discover the cities in America. I’ve had many conversations with students here wanting to do the same. It is rather peculiar that we have seen more countries and cities here in Europe than many of us have seen back home, and I can’t help but wonder why. There is SO much to be seen in our own country. Portland, Oregon, and Nashville, Tennessee are two cities I have on my list that I hope to make it to in the near future. I’m most excited about getting into a routine when I get home. I think I’ll most remember the routine I got into here in Florence when I think about my time abroad. Just walking from my apartment to Via Ricasoli, passing all of the school groups waiting to get into the Accademia, eating at my favorite Gelato place around the corner from my apartment and petting all of the cute dogs I pass near the Duomo are some of the snapshots from my life I know I will remember forever.

NYU Florence has definitely given me an interesting look at the city. From what I’ve heard from other students studying abroad, it is less about their academics and more about them “having fun.” But I feel really relieved that this was not the case for me. I did have fun, and while I still had to work hard here, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I liked going to the activities that NYU had planned for us and taking advantage of these opportunities. I liked the support system they had set up and really made an effort to make it easier for us to acclimate to the city. The one suggestion I would have is to supply students with monthly bus passes instead of making them buy them on our own. Or providing a bus would make much more sense in general. I’ve really enjoyed taking this course. I know I will look back on these blog posts and smile. It captured my experience in a way I know that pictures or a regular diary never would be capable of. Thank you for reading my posts these past four months! Wishing everyone safe travels home. Arrivederci!

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(Image: Sunset in Alghero, Sardinia; Source: Annie Barson)


  1. Hey Annie, I loved reading the posts I read of yours this semester. Thanks for sharing them with us (:

    I too am taking home with me a desire and a motivation to travel the US more. There are so many amazing places even around NYC that deserve trips, and after spending this semester on the move I feel prepared to plan travels back home. My family has gone on several long road trips, including a cross-country one when I was in sixth grade. If you aren’t already considering National Parks, I would urge you to! Zion in Utah is one of my favorites, and Shenandoah in Virginia is drivable from NYC.

  2. Hi Annie, thanks for the post! Travel is such an opportunity to grow – and it sounds like you’ve taken full advantage. Now the test of returning… home – will old habits come with geographic territory? They need not, but I always struggle. So, stay strong!

    Glad you’re working in future travels. Road trips sound awesome.

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