Ciao! I have been in Florence, Italy for two days and what a busy two days it has been! Everything seems to be so different than what I am used to in Midwest America. My days so far have been made up of orientation meetings, exploring and trying to regulate my sleep schedule.
When first landing in Florence I felt slaphappy from jet lag and the excitement of finally (finally!) being in Italy. I was instantly snapped into alertness when we drove to our housing. Though living in Chicago for the past three years and having to adjust to the hectic driving style of the suburbs, nothing could have prepared me for Florence driving. As an already nervous person, the fast pace, small roads full of people, bikes and vespas only added to my road anxiety. I feel that it will take me some time to actually get used to walking on the road next to moving cars.
Another large change in my experience so far is the language barrier. I know very, very little Italian and not everyone I have met speaks much English – if any at all. I did practice basic Italian before I started my program and that little practice has gotten me far, or as far as you can get in two days. I’ve noticed that the Italians appreciate my effort toward speaking their language and put forth the same effort in speaking English. I have to applaud Florence for their generous patience and willingness to work with an American who needs to learn more Italian.
While I have only been here a short time, I haven’t done that much. A fun Italian experience so far was having gelato for the first time. Yes, America does have gelato, my home university serves it frequently. But, I always go for the Ben & Jerry’s instead. But, when in Florence, it is a must to try the gelato. It was eccellente.
Now I have to brag a little. The ISA Florence on-site staff have continuously prepared all students about culture shock and how it is real. But, everyone in the ISA office is so awesome and helpful that if all of this change gets to be too much, I know that they have my back.
Tomorrow is a day full of tourist sightseeing, so I am excited to take pictures and share more adventure stories. Arrivederci!
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