Hi everyone, Amanda here!
For the first two months of the summer I had the privilege of studying abroad in Florence, Italy and I had the most incredible time while I was there! But lets rewind and start with how I got there (scroll to see photos below).
From the time I was a freshman I knew that I wanted to study abroad so starting in the spring semester of my sophomore year I began attending the events held by the Study Abroad Office. Between going to the Study Abroad Fair, meeting with advisers in the Study Abroad Office and talking to my friends who had already studied abroad, I was able to decide which country and program was right for me. I picked Italy because I liked that it would be easy to travel to the other European countries and I was also very interested in the culture and the food. Once I picked which country I wanted to go to, I had to determine which session I would be going on. I decided on the summer session because I liked the time period and due to my major based courses, I could not study abroad during the semester.
The application process was easy-breezy. I wrote an essay as to why I wanted to study abroad, filled in the application and sent in two letters of recommendation from my professors. Once I completed the application, I began working on scholarships to help cover the cost of the tuition. I found out two weeks later that I had been accepted into my program and that I had received a very generous scholarship (thrilled!). From there I began working with my study abroad advisor, Summer, to prepare myself for my stay in Italy. She helped me with everything from meeting other students in my program to the classes I would be taking while abroad!They even made sure to put all of the UConn students on the same flight to Italy so we would not be traveling alone (Something I was really worried about). The study abroad office made sure to make all of us feel comfortable and informed before we left!
My time in Italy absolutely flew by! I had such an amazing time exploring Florence and being immersed in the Italian culture. The two classes that I took while I was there were The History of Food (which included many tastings!) and Italian (Our professor only spoke English the first two days of classes…)! I really enjoyed both of my classes so much and while not academically strenuous, I found myself completely engaged in what I was learning! We had class all day Monday-Thursday and then spent the rest of the week traveling all around Italy! We went to some incredibly beautiful places but my favorites were Cinque Terre and Capri. Cinque Terre are five different port towns built into the cliffs and connected by hiking trails. The scenery was just gorgeous and the hike between the towns was challenging but so rewarding with beautiful views! In Capri, we visited the Blue Grotto and were even able to swim in it! How cool is it that I can say I swam in one of the Seven Wonders of the World!? My other favorite part of being in Italy during the summer was being there for the EuroCup. You couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement and spirit for the Italian soccer team! It was insane as they continued on into the quarter finals…and then the semifinals and finally into the championship game. After each game they won, there would be people running in the streets, horns blown and fireworks shot off! I thought our Huskymania was impressive, but the Italians took it to a whole new level! It was such an amazing thing to be a part of!
Looking back at my trip to Italy, I am so happy and grateful that I was able to study abroad in Florence. I appreciate all the opportunities I had on my trip and will never forget the memories and friends I made while I studied in Italy!
If you would like more information on UConn’s study abroad program please visit http://www.studyabroad.uconn.edu/. If you would like to see the blog I kept while on my trip, check it out at http://ciaobellaflorencetrip.blogspot.com!!