Prossima Fermata: La Pietra

In The Art of Travel Spring 2017, Florence, 14. Tips by Jordyn Jay1 Comment

Hop on board the 25 bus and let me take you on a ride through Jordyn’s Guide to NYU Florence. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride, and just like the 25 bus, there’s a good chance this post might be late.

I’m gonna be 100% real with you. Unless Renaissance art gets you all hot and bothered or you’re really into like European politics or something, I wouldn’t put Florence on the top of my list. Lots of people would disagree with me and that’s fine, but I just spent the past weekend visiting a friend in London and wondering what on Earth I was doing when I checked Florence as my first choice on the application. If you’re a person like me who loves big, modern cities, with great fashion, great nightlife, great shopping and lots of diversity, I suggest you stop and think about why you really wanna come to Florence. If you love historic, quiet towns with beautiful gardens and great food and that’s enough to satisfy you for 12 weeks, then, by all means, hop on that 9-hour flight and get yourself to Florence as fast as you can.

So now that you’ve decided you’re coming to Florence, first things first, if you love yourself and you have a choice in where to live, you will NOT choose Borgo Pinti 66. In fact, if the students from my semester have their way, Borgo Pinti probably won’t even be an option anymore. If that’s the case, you should honestly send us a fruit basket for saving you from that train wreck.

Next, prepare yourself. Pack pepper spray (actually don’t take my word for that, customs might rip you apart). But seriously, if you’re a woman or a femme gay man, prepare to be stared at and catcalled endlessly. I literally mean endlessly. In grocery stores. On the bus. At the train station. Anytime I have been walking by myself after 7pm, a man on the street has tried to get me to have sex with him. I am not exaggerating. Also if you have a really strong connection to your culture or food from home, bring some of it with you! You will not be able to find anything but Italian food or ingredients for Italian food in Italy. Sure there may be sad imitations of the food from your culture, but if you want the good stuff, bring at least a little with you. It’s fun to branch out and try Italian food, but you’re going to be gone for 12 weeks so be realistic.

Okay, so now you know where you’re living and you’re ready for the men, now it’s time to do your research and plan ahead. DON’T BE LIKE ME. I literally didn’t know where the Duomo was or what it was until like my 3rd week in Florence, and (sh don’t tell anyone) I still haven’t been inside. You’re probably thinking “Jordyn, how can you talk so much shit about Florence, if you haven’t visited it’s most famous sites?” It’s a valid critique, but this post isn’t about me, it’s about you, so mind your business. Anyway, find out where you want to go and what you want to see and prioritize it all, because I promise you’ll leave Europe wishing you had time to see at least one more place, and you don’t want that place to be the Tower of Pisa when it was just an hour-long train ride away all semester. Take the time to see Italy first. It will be SO tempting to put it off, because it’s so close and you’ll have time later. Trust me, by the end of semester you’ll run out of time and money to go anywhere but to and from campus. Also, try to see contemporary modern stuff in Italy. I promise you you’ll get tired of hearing and learning about stuff that happened before the year 1700. Also, do research on places that provide the services that you need and are used to back home. Look for hair salons that cater to you, places that do eyebrows, waxing, nails, facials. It might seem frivolous, but if you get your eyebrows threaded every two weeks that I do and then suddenly you’re in a place where threading doesn’t exist, it’s gonna hurt.

Ok now for the good part, YOU’RE IN FLORENCE. You’ve got your monthly student bus pass (unless you’re annoying athletic and decide to walk everyday), and you’re ready to start. Here’s the biggest piece of advice i can give you. Get involved on campus!!!!! NYU Florence is small (sometimes too small). The upside to the size is that it gives you more of an opportunity to get involved and get to know people than you have in New York. If you were apprehensive about getting involved on campus at NYU before, now is your time to be a big fish in a small pond and build that resume.

Last but not least, HAVE FUN! See as much as you can. Go somewhere you never thought you would go.. Don’t take things too seriously. Make new friends! Make Florence your b****!

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  1. Hey Jordyn, I’m also in Florence and this title is so relatable. Your first paragraph literally made me laugh. I appreciate your honesty and actually agree with everything you wrote about, as I too wondered at one point why I chose such a small city when I love the hugeness of New York. I also find the harassment level to be way more than I expected, especially with the staring culture in Italy. There’s a lot less consideration for political correctness, which is sad, but will be better back in New York so that’s something I’m looking forward to. I mentioned trying to see more of Italy in my post too, and I also support seeing contemporary stuff when you can like the contemporary art center in Prato or the Bologna Museum of Modern Art, those were two of my favorites. Hope you’ve had an overall great semester!

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