Part 2 of My Study Abroad Experience
I started off the week with a blog post about my study abroad experience in Florence, Italy. I am continuing it for you all today and I will be sharing my traveling and food experiences while abroad! Keep reading!
My Class While Abroad in Florence
A big part of my study abroad experience was food…but who doesn’t love Italian food? As I mentioned previously, I wanted to take a class that was interesting yet wouldn’t take up a lot of my time considering I only had a month to explore Italy along with some of Europe. Lorenzo de’ Medici offers a class called Pairing Food and Wine where you literally cook, eat, and drink wine the entire time! I thought this was perfect and what better place to learn about wine than in Italy?
We actually had to cook and eat our food in class, then drink both red and white wine to distinguish which one went better with the dish. We had a couple of written exams about how to taste wine and things like that, but the bulk of the time we cooked some amazing food!
Believe it or not, there is a lot of skill that goes into tasting wine. This class was ideal because it was in the afternoon and it saved me money because I didn’t need to eat lunch beforehand! We made a lot of Italian cuisines and even some deserts – all from scratch and I was super impressed by my cooking skills here.
While exploring in my free time, I found some great restaurants and fast food places. I discovered the most amazing Caffeteria, Gelateria, and Pasticceria in Florence – Don Nino – which is where I spent my nights after dinner. There is not one dessert that I got from here that I didn’t like (and I tried a lot of them).
I walked literally everywhere when I was in Florence except when going to and from the airport – which was only twice. This made it easy for me to familiarize myself with the city and see the beauty of Florence. There were some places like Piazza Michaelangelo that were a bit of hike to get to on foot (at least the way I went up), but it was 100% worth the view.
Of course, while you study abroad you have to travel more. I was really lucky that I met some friends and had roommates that were down to travel as much as I was!
Traveling While Abroad
I only had 3 weekends where I could travel while I was here and I wanted to get the full study abroad experience so, I took advantage of every single one. My first trip ended up being by train from Florence to Rome which was about an hour and a half ride and the tickets were around 10 Euro! There are a lot of cheap travel options while abroad so definitely do your research.
While my friends and I were in Rome, we walked pretty much everywhere to save money on cab fares. We got to see a lot – the Colosseum (Colosseo), the Roman Forum (Foro Romano), the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi), St. Peter’s Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro), Piazza Navona, and more!
They say “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and you surely can’t see all of Rome in one day either. We saw all of those places in a day and a half and there is still so much left to see in Rome!
The same weekend we went to Pisa for the day which is about a 40-minute train ride from Florence. It was a Sunday so many of the shops and stores were closed or were closing early, but it was definitely a place that you have to see if you are in Italy
The charm is amazing and of course – you have to see how the Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually leaning in real life! The Duomo, the street art, gelato, sangria, everything is worth the trip!
I even booked a trip for 7 Euros to Barcelona from Venice for the weekend! I got to Venice from Florence again by train for a few Euros and was able to get to Barcelona and Spain in general for the first time in my life! We had a couple of days here and then it was back to our final week of class and final week in Florence which was something we were all dreading.
My last day in Florence, I actually took a train to Venice again with one of my roommates – the only one left from our group. We had a full day in Venice to enjoy and we also went to Murano and Burano which are 2 small cities or islands right off of Venice! Murano is full of glass and art while Burano is known for its colorful fisherman houses!
I Can’t Get Enough of Florence
My study abroad experience was by far the highlight of my college life. It was something that I wish I had done sooner and for longer. It is definitely what got me so inclined to explore Europe more and make me want to live here! If I could do it all over again, I would, without a doubt.
Florence is by far one of my favorite cities in Europe and I wouldn’t have figured that out if I didn’t go on this study abroad experience. It was the perfect city for me because it was small, beautiful, and the courses worked for me. This is something you should really pay attention to when looking into studying abroad.
When choosing your study abroad program, it is important to research everything and know what you want – especially when you are doing it for a longer term.
Do you have a study abroad experience of your own? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!