- As a freshman at NYU, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy for the entire year.
- I loved the fairy tale campus, the cafes in the city and the opportunity to travel.
- Studying abroad helped me get out of my comfort zone and taught me to take advantage of every opportunity.
After spending my junior and senior year of high school on Zoom calls and Google classrooms, there was a bright spot at the end of the tunnel: I got accepted into new york university.
As a New York native, I was excited to be going to a prestigious school close to home. But when the excitement wore off, I realized that I would spend my entire first year in New York University Campus in Florence.
As a result of applying through the early decision process, he was expected to attend the Florence campus as part of the deal, or he would not be able to attend at all. I was also admitted to NYU’s two-year liberal studies program, which required at least one semester of study abroad. In my case, it turned out to be my first year of college.
Although it was not your typical freshman college experience, I loved all aspects of my study abroad program. I will always be grateful to the people I have met, the cities I have visited and all the cappuccinos I have drunk.
Most importantly, I learned that if you didn’t chase opportunities, they wouldn’t come your way. I took that lesson from my study abroad experience and applied it to other areas of my life.
When I arrived in Florence, I fell in love with the campus.
There is no doubt that the NYU Florence campus is a fantasy come true. It sits on several acres of gardens, groves, hills, and villas. On warm days, I smelled like yellow mimosa flowers on my walks to class. If I was lucky enough to catch it, piano music would come out of some buildings. While having dinner, I could look at the pastel colors of the sunset and the lights of the city.
He lived in the main dormitory on campus, initially sharing a room with three other students. The Italianate architecture of the dormitories helped distinguish the campus from that of New York City. Instead of being surrounded by skyscrapers, it was surrounded by olive trees.
We were lucky to have housekeepers. while i don’t always They understand our conversations, were always willing to help me with my Italian, and occasionally put the sheets on my bed. In the cafeteria, the kitchen staff went out of their way to prepare meals for everyone, and when I told them I was vegan, they went out of their way to make me something special.
Florence herself held discoveries for me: a young student on her own for the first time
One of my favorite things to do was take a 10-minute walk to my favorite cafe, PappaGioia., It had the most beautiful atmosphere and generous staff. I visited them every day, eating in their backyard garden. There, I loved sitting in the shade of a tree with a plate full of food in front of me, a book in hand, and a strawberry shortcake on the way.
On my last visit to the cafe, I thanked the owner for her heartwarming hospitality, she filled a bag with cookies and presented them to me, thanking me for my time.
She was just one of the many kind-hearted Florentines I encountered. Whenever she needed help, there was always a local to help me without annoyance or disapproval of my presence.
Of course, I saw the Florentines getting a bit upset by the heavy traffic caused by tourists, but the locals were always cordial. However, there were numerous occasions where I saw American tourists being completely disrespectful and entitled.
While studying abroad, my first year was atypical, I had a better experience than I would have had in New York.
When I came to NYU Florence, I didn’t know anyone. But I met all my closest friends there. Granted, I missed out on the typical freshman activities in New York, like a great orientation, but I got to enjoy something most freshmen can’t: travel the world.
I visited various countries and cities across Europe for next to nothing. Although some of the planes were small, the flights were worth it. Imagine being able to visit Rome for $20. That was my reality for a whole year.
Growing up, I didn’t have the privilege of traveling often, so this was my chance to get out of my comfort zone and explore. For example, once while traveling, I plucked up the courage to talk to a cute guy. Although he didn’t become my fairytale Italian lover, I was able to talk to a local and practice my Italian. Most importantly, I put myself in an awkward situation to prove to myself that being uncomfortable wasn’t a bad thing.
My best memories, like that, I made traveling with friends and participating in the cultures of other countries. We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to grow and complete our first year of college together in a foreign country.
Of course, I missed home very much, but I would do it all over again.
It’s easy to romanticize studying abroad, but it’s not always as easy or glamorous as it seems. For example, I missed a lot at home in New York. I missed the first year of my little sister’s life. She would often ask me how she would be doing with my old dog without me and, most heartbreakingly, I had to learn of my father’s cancer diagnosis on the other side of the world.
Despite those obstacles, I realized that I had the opportunity of a lifetime right on my lap. I was 19 years old living in Europe with amazing friends. I’m glad I held on to that feeling because it allowed me to take risks and open up a world of possibilities.
I tell everyone who has the possibility to study abroad that they should give it a try. It’s not for everyone, but it’s worth a try because it taught me how to be curious, pursue adventures, and be a kind adult.