Italy changes you study abroad
Hello again readers. I wanted to send you an apology before you continue to read. You see, I wrote the following text almost a month ago and forgot post it. And for that, I truly am sorry. I anticipate writing you another, up to date, post this upcoming week. So please readers, forgive me. I assure you, while this post may appear a tad stale, it should still taste great.
Well, it’s that time again, readers. I’ve returned to state my piece. I hope you’ve come ready to listen, because I have plenty to say.
I write to you now, compared to my previous post, as a different person. I’ve changed, ever so slightly, for the better. You see, readers, this time I’m not writing to you in anticipation of being abroad, this time I am abroad, I’ve been abroad, and I’ve got lots of abroad to go. And because this whole being abroad thing has been going on for about three weeks now, I have an abundance of tales to share. So readers, fasten your seatbelts, because I’m about to speed through 13 days worth of experiences.
My journey began at Reagan National Airport in Washington DC. I was ready to roll. Italy was 12 hours away and nothing was going to get in my way. Nothing. At least that’s what I originally thought. But then I realized it was not at Reagan where my starting point had been set. Rather, I was scheduled to take off from DC’s other airport, Dulles International. And thus, it became obvious that I was at the wrong airport. This was blatantly a problem, but fortunately was not a difficult one to fix (apparently, $50 goes a long way in such circumstances). It was this seemingly instant conflict, though, that sparked an important realization within me: if I was to have any chance of surviving this summer, I was gonna have to use my brain way more effectively than I had prior to taking off.
Half a day later I touched ground in Rome. Exhausted, hungry, delirious… none of this mattered, I was in Europe. I had made it. I scavenged my way through the airport and eventually met up with the API crew. It was official, I was abroad.
We (the other API students and myself) stayed in Rome for about three days. In this time span, we saw an overload of incredible sites: the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, along with others. Travel experts claim you should do Rome in seven days in order to make it to each of these places… I visited all of them in two.
After Rome, we headed to Florence. Being that this would be my new home for the entire summer, I was definitely excited to arrive. When I walked into my enormous apartment, however, reality set in. Being simply excited didn’t cut it, it was time to get ecstatic.
Reaching this level of exuberance on my own wasn’t difficult, but my roommates made it even easier. Each of them undeniably contained the necessary attributes that would build our apartment’s blatantly superior persona. Will: the entrepreneur. Travis: the flowrider. Kyle: the pal. Turtle: the musician. John: the fratstar. And myself: the pragmatic jester.
I spent a majority of my first week in Florence with my roommates. Together, we adapted to the surrounding culture that is Italian. Each of us dove head first into the amazing city we could now call home. And with this dive, we came to understand several things over all others: Italian vendors never quit, Italian traffic laws are non-existent, and Italian meals never end.
After the first week expired, I quickly realized the difference between simply being abroad and actually studying abroad. This understanding, of course, came with the start of classes. With class lasting from 1:15pm-6:45pm each day (disregarding Fridays), my full days of diving into the city were cut in half. While this was difficult to swallow at first, it eventually transformed into routine. And in doing so, Florence began to feel more like home… sweet home.
So now here I am. While I’m still in the early stages of my abroad experience, I’ve made undeniable progress towards reaching my goals. This city, Florence, Italy, was a foreign land to me just a month ago. Now it’s my domain. My everyday life. My new homeland.
I stated in my previous post, as a part of my mission, that I had hoped to make the uncomfortable, comfortable… Well, readers, I think you’ll agree by the text provided above, that deed’s did. Onto the next one.
It’s been a pleasure readers. Get at you on the rebound. Scottie, out.
Scott Manela is a student from the University of Georgia and a blog contributor studying with API in Florence, Italy.