The GoGlobal Blog

How I’ve Been Recently + a Trip to Florence

How I’ve Been Recently + a Trip to Florence

Update on me

These past few days have been interesting, to say the least. At the very beginning of our semester here, the school psychologist talked with us about the different “stages” that study abroad students, or anyone who moves abroad for that matter, tend to go through. The first stage is one of excitement and anxiety; everything is new and slightly overwhelming, and the weeks are a blur of new people, new places, and new experiences. Once that initial excitement wears off, you enter into stage 2, which is characterized by stress, frustration, and homesickness. This is where I’m at, right on schedule. I love the people I’ve found here, but I am definitely craving a hug from my family. Difficult situations from other personal matters have also been coming at me all at once recently, so that’s contributing as well.

That isn’t to say I haven’t still been having tons of fun. That’s nearly impossible to do here– there’s too much to do and see to not find joy in it. However, I’ve also had to remind myself that it’s okay to not be doing something at every moment of the day. For anyone currently abroad or planning to go abroad, I offer this advice that I’ve had to remind myself of recently: it’s okay to say no to things and to still take time for yourself, just like you would if you were home. Sure, you may want to say yes to everything at the beginning, and want to do as much as possible in your short amount of time here, however, no one can go at that pace forever. You are in a new place, with new people, and it can be hard. And it is okay to take some time to yourself, to just stay in, and to find some peace. That’s what I’m doing right now, actually, as I am writing this. It’s hard to not feel like I’m missing out, but I know I’m going to be better for taking this time.


Update on Classes

Classes have been going pretty well so far– it’s been interesting to take an entire line-up of core classes and get a break from studying my majors and minor. I like learning Italian, but as someone who grew up monolingual, it’s a bit tricky to try to keep French (my minor) and Italian (my brand new language) separated in my head. I’ve found myself saying “merci” in response to people here, or only being able to think of the Italian word for something I want to say in French. I had a ton of respect for people who could speak multiple languages before this, and the respect and admiration have grown even more since attempting to do it myself.

I really enjoy my Baroque Art class, as we get to explore different places every week instead of sitting in a classroom listening to lectures. So far, we have seen the Vatican museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. I usually am not one to read every single thing assigned to me in class if it is optional, but knowing the history and context of what I am looking at is something that I really enjoy. I even made my first guy-friend here in that class- it doesn’t sound that impressive, but I swear it is an 8-1 girl to boy ratio here so I take it as a win.

My voice class has been okay, despite my inability to sing. The professor can sense that I am very nervous, and helps out a lot which is kind. I really enjoy my religion and gender class– those topics are things that I can talk about forever. It is really interesting to learn about it from a theological lens too since I am not a religious person myself. My writing class is all about love during the Renaissance, so that too I find pretty cool. I think I definitely lucked out on all of my class choices!

Speaking of classes, we usually don’t have classes on Fridays, but this week we did because the school gave us off on Wednesday to go to the Papal audience!

Pope Francis walking down the aisle through a ton of people leaning in for pictures and blessings (photo from another classmate)

Update on Travelling

Now for the interesting stuff– my second weekend trip! I went to Florence and was there with what felt like half of the JFRC student population. I was with 6 other girls where I was staying, we hung out with 3 others nearly every day, 12 of us went on a wine tasting together, and we saw a variety of other groups there either out in the streets, at museums, or on Michelangelo Hill watching the sunset.

On Friday, we got in and did a lot of walking and exploring. We were staying 2 streets away from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the main church in Florence! We walked the main streets that were bustling with restaurants and stores, saw the Ponte Vecchio, crossed the river, and walked up to Michelangelo Hill to watch the sunset over the city. That night we found a great restaurant Dante e Beatrice. Our waiter took a liking to our friend Emma and gave us 30% off of our food plus free dessert and limoncello! (I highly recommend this place even without the discount!)

Saturday we went to an adorable café in the morning called Ben’s then walked over to an awesome market called Mercato Centrale Firenze. It had a bunch of stands for produce, meat, pasta, and pastries on the first floor, and on the second was an upscale food court of sorts, with a ton of restaurants and seating. Then we went off on a wine tour that explored the Chianti area, visiting two wineries, learning about the history of the area, and trying great wine that will make it quite hard to go back to the stuff that college kids can afford when I’m back at home.

Sunday our large group got lunch from a good salad place together, then broke off to do what we all wanted. I visited Galleria Academia and the Uffizi museum, and talked to an adorable artist who spoke to me in French and English about his art and what I could do to be involved in French culture while in Rome! I met back up with some others, and we shopped around and got gelato (of course) and food before heading to the bus station to get back to Rome.


This weekend, as I may have implied in the beginning, I am taking time for myself. We had a Friday class day this week (one of only 3) so we had a short weekend that was not the best for traveling. Instead, we are exploring more of Rome, and healing from the busy past 3 weeks. It feels like we’ve been here so much longer than that though! It’s been nice so though, not to get back from a trip and immediately be planning the next. I am even getting to save money because I’m booking things for trips more than a few days in advance, so that’s great!

I’ll sign off for now, thanks for reading.

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