By Kaylee Holt, MA 2015-16
As the end of the semester and my year abroad is swiftly approaching, I am starting to realize that I’ll be leaving a little piece of my heart behind. Studying abroad has its challenges, and homesickness is surely one of them.
When my time here first began, I loved Florence, but I also could not stop thinking about all the things I was missing back in the States. Life without a dryer, dishwasher, and air conditioning presented problems for me at first. I couldn’t get my favorite food or shampoo brands. I still don’t know which side of the soap attachment on the washer is for the detergent and which side is for the fabric softener. Life here was a huge adjustment that had me questioning my decision on more than one occasion. But after I made it through those first few months of culture shock, I realized just how much I love my life here. I will probably always stick out to the locals as an Americana, but I can speak enough Italian to get by, I know how to handle an Italian grocery store (checkout line included), I can navigate the city and the buses. Florence has become a great fit, just like my favorite pair of jeans.
In a few short weeks (I refuse to count just how many) I will say goodbye to so much more than a place. I am saying goodbye to some great friends, an apartment that feels like home, my favorite cook from my daily lunch spot (LdM café), all the Florentine dogs who have become my constant petting buddies over the last few months, and so much more. I started this program knowing my heart belonged to another place in Italy that I had previously studied in, but I found that my heart will always have a place in Florence too. So instead of caving to my sadness, I am going to enjoy every last second I have in this wonderful place. I also will share a little of my newfound wisdom with all of you.
If you ever have the chance to study in Italy, Florence or another beautiful place, take it. Even if you are apprehensive or scared, you will not regret your time here. Living abroad changes you – it helps you to discover just how strong, brave, and adventurous you really are. I promise that Florence will steal your heart, even if it you don’t realize until after you’re already gone.