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A Day in the Life of a Study Abroad Student in Florence By Emma Balmforth

By Lee

After sipping your morning cappuccino on a small cobbled side street near the center of Florence, you decide to wander some of the tiny side streets before heading to your first class at the local university that hosts your study abroad classes.

On the way, you pass by tiny coffee shops, marble statues carved to perfection, and museums that you have only read about in books. Living and studying abroad in Florence, you now have the chance to see some of the worlds most highly regarded pieces of artwork, discover some of the city’s hidden nightlife, and devour all of the Italian food you could have dreamed of.

 Italy offers study abroad students a perfect school-life balance, where you have plenty of time to attend classes, study, and explore your new home. No matter the time of year, Florence is a city beckoning to be explored, both day and night. It is filled with culture, inspiration, and endless pieces of history that will change your perspective on the past, present, and future. Situated near the center of Italy, the central location of Florence allows you to easily travel the rest of the country during your weekends off, whether you choose to visit the colorful Amalfi Coast or step back in time in Rome and learn about a civilization that will never be forgotten.

 Studying abroad gives you the chance to further your academic studies the same way you would do at home, however it also opens you up to a world that is unlike any other that you may have experienced. During your academic studies abroad in Florence, you will have the chance to learn some Italian, make lifelong friends who are both locals and foreigners, build a network of friends from all over the world, marvel at some of the most iconic artwork and sculptures in the country, and taste local food and drinks.

 Each day during your study abroad in Florence you will be immersed in the local culture, be reminded of the endless years of history, and learn the customs of the locals through your daily wandering, shopping, and eating.

 After your classes finish, it is commonplace to socialize with friends at local bars and coffee shops. Your nights in Florence may be spent finding hidden speakeasy bars, taking a local cooking class, dancing at trendy nightclubs, or exploring some of the museums that are open late. However you choose to spend your time in Florence during your study abroad program, it will be an experience that you will never forget.

If you’re heading abroad for a semester or academic year and are about to call Florence, Italy your new home, you’re surely looking forward to experiencing Italian culture and the wonderful cuisine, lifestyle, and experiences it offers. Italy offers vastly different experiences based on the region of the country you’re in. With Florence being the capital of the region of Tuscany, you will be able to explore vineyards, mountains and immerse yourself in Renaissance art.

 Travel just south to the Lazio region and you’ll find a different experience. With Rome as the region’s capital, you’ll take a trip further backwards in time and revel in the ancient city while you check out all of its ruins. The Amalfi Coast, with all of its breathtaking views and sun-soaked beaches, is located in the next region below, called Campania. North of Florence you’ll find Milan as the capital of the Lombardia region and Venice the capital of Veneto. There are more than 15 regions across the country of Italy, each with something special to offer. Great news for you as a study abroad student, they’re all easily accessible through Italy’s multiple methods of domestic transportation.

 Trains will be your best bet for traveling locally, especially to towns within Tuscany. Local trains have cheap fares and can be picked up at any of Florence’s three train stations, though Santa Maria Novella is by far the most popular of the three. At the Santa Maria Novella station you can also grab Italy’s high-speed train options, the Italo or the Frecciarossa. What’s the difference between these two high-speed options? The Italo is a company that only operates fast trains, while the Frecciarossa is the high-speed option that’s a part of TrenItalia, Italy’s national train service. The two travel at the same speeds, so when booking train tickets make sure to compare the two on price before you book! Both options will get you to Rome in just over an hour and a half, as compared to just under four hours on the national train. 

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