The Highlight Reel

Written by Megan July 9, 2014

Wow. That was an action packed month. It seems like only yesterday that I couldn’t believe it was actually starting, and now I’m shocked that it’s over.

I think my favorite thing about this experience was really all of the people I met, both Italians and Americans. As cool as the sightseeing and tourist-ing was, it was really all of my new friends and Italian experiences that made this great trip into a phenomenal one.

As for my new American (mostly Hawkeye but also Mizzou and WVU) friends, I honestly couldn’t have hoped for better people to meet. Now, I’m thinking back to our first weekend in Florence, with all 11 of us. Even though it was a huge pain in the butt to keep track of everybody, it was so much fun. Then to continue the next weekend and the following weeks interacting in smaller groups was even better, because then I actually got to know them more personally. So here’s a shout-out to all of you guys!

In terms of authentic Italian encounters, the one that sticks out in my mind happened the last week we were on campus. It was Monday night, and a few of us wanted to get some pizza. However, the local pizzeria is closed on Mondays. So we decided to suck it up and walk the 20 minutes to the next closest one in Crespano. When we got there, we ordered a pizza and grabbed a few drinks and went to sit right outside because it was a nice night. The girl that was working then went above and beyond what we expected. A little while after she brought out the pizza we ordered, she came back out with another one. We were, of course, confused, and were trying to convey that no, we hadn’t ordered this one. The kicker was that she knew this. It was a slow night for them, so they had just made another as a gift. Then, the most amazing part (even though free pizza is an already amazing thing) was that she stayed out to talk to us, her in broken English, and us in broken Italian. She was only a few years older than us, so it was just really neat that she wanted to come out and chat. Plus, after we finished the gift pizza, she had another one made and brought it out to us to continue chatting. So yeah, I’d say any night where you get not one, but two free pizzas is already a great night, but the interaction made the night even that much better.

Because of all of this, I have 5 tips for students that want to study abroad.

1. DO IT.

2. Go further than the typical tourist destinations. They’re cool and all, but for me, the coolest part by far was the authentic Italian experiences I had.

3. Try to learn some of the language before you leave. It’ll help a little bit, and people are usually very kind if they see that you’re trying. You’ll also pick up more when you’re there, but that is one thing that I wish I had done.

4. Don’t stay in your dorm room. Seriously. I spent as little time in there as possible, and I fully recommend it. Even if all of your friends are doing nothing, try doing nothing together, because eventually, it’ll turn into something

5. Have fun. Relax. Go with the flow. You’ll be having the time of your life, so soak up every second of it.

Ciao (for the last time)