University of Wisconsin–Madison

Florence, Here I Come…

It’s crazy to think that after months of researching, planning and prepping, the time has finally come for me to study abroad! In just a few short days I’ll be embarking on what I hear will be the journey of a lifetime: studying abroad in Florence, Italy. I’ll be leaving my Midwestern roots to spend the next four months halfway across the world and I could not be more excited/anxious/nervous/thrilled/all of the above!

I’ve always known I wanted to study abroad so it’s surreal that the time has finally come. I think the thing that excites me the most (besides the endless supply of pasta, pizza, cheese, gelato, wine, etc.) is that I get to immerse myself in a completely new culture. As a strategic communications major in the J-school, I’ve always had a passion for getting to know other people and learning about different backgrounds. To be able to live in another country and surround myself with new people and new experiences is so exciting to me.

But I have to admit, the nerves are definitely starting to kick in. I’ve become so used to my life in Madison that it’s scary to leave all of that behind and start somewhere new. But I know once I settle into my new life I’ll realize why everyone says it’s the best four months of their life.

As I reflect on the time I’ll be spending in Florence, I want to write down a few goals that I’ve made for myself during my time abroad:

  1. Meet new people and make new friends. Try to push yourself out of your comfort zone and talk to everyone! Don’t get too comfortable with your friends from Madison – branch out and be independent.
  2. A lot. Visit the places you’ve always wanted to – you’ll never get this chance again. Take weekend trips with your friends and explore new cities. See as many places as you possibly can.
  3. Take pictures. Lots of them.
  4. But put your phone down! Don’t obsess over social media. Live in the moment.
  5. Eat gelato once a day. Maybe twice 😉
  6. Try new foods. When else will you be able to eat homemade Italian pasta everyday?! Try everything!
  7. Call mom and dad often. Let them know you’re okay.
  8. Be confident yet cautious. Walk with a purpose but be aware of your surroundings. Always stick with a group and always look out for each other.
  9. Journal as much as you can. Try to write down the little details that will make you smile years from now when you go back to read it.
  10. Learn to like wine!!!

Hopefully I’ll be able to check a few of those off the list as my time abroad comes to an end.

Wish me luck! Florence, here I come…

Maddie

1 thought on “Florence, Here I Come…”

  1. Writing down little details about your experience is *really* important. When I look through my study abroad journal, I’m surprised by how much has kind of faded into a muted memory; when I read my journal again, it’s like it’s back in living color!

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