|Farfy taking a picture with the Ponte Vecchio|
If you have never been abroad, I would highly suggest taking every opportunity you get to do so. This is my second time abroad, having spent five weeks in London last summer, and I am learning new things here that I didn’t learn there while also benefiting from the experience I gained living in a foreign country previously. On top of that, there is a language barrier to overcome in Italy that I didn’t have in London, which is a whole different experience in its own right.
|The Duomo at sunset|
Classes are going really well. I am taking two courses here in Florence; one is called Palaces of Florence (which is pretty cool considering I can literally see one palace from my seat in class) and the other is called Wines of Italy. In Palaces of Florence I get to learn all about the architecture and history surrounding the 5 billion (exaggeration) palaces in the city, and learn about the families who built and inhabited them. All I am saying is, the Medici and Borgia make House of Cards look tame. In all seriousness though, it is an awesome opportunity to take this class because we also get to take “field trips” every single day where we go and visit the actual palaces, and even get to see parts of the palaces that most people don’t.
|The Ponte Vecchio|
In Wines of Italy I get to learn about the wines… of Italy. In all honesty though, it is probably one of the most fun classes I have ever taken, and not just because I get to drink wine in it. Lol. We get to taste 4 different wines each day (in small amounts) and learn all about the region each wine comes from, the process of winemaking, the various nuances of each wine, and figure out which wines we like best. I feel incredibly sophisticated knowing that I can now take a wine and give a full analysis concerning its visual qualities, being color, viscosity, and fluidity amongst other things, olfactory qualities, being the intensity and persistence of the smell and what the wine actually smells like, and gustative qualities, being the intensity and persistence of the taste and what the wine tastes like in relation to its visual and olfactory qualities. Going beyond this, our professor Giovanni takes us out after class to meet his friends at various Enotecas (wine shops) around Florence and taste wines there as well. It is a really cool experience.
|MaryKate and I in front of the Pantheon while visiting Rome|
This truly is a once in a lifetime experience, although I hope I get to come back and visit here some day. For current students and incoming freshmen… study abroad is not easy, it has its ups and its downs, and you will come back to the US a little different than how you left it. You will have a new perspective on things, and you will have experienced things that a lot of the people you talk to won’t understand. But there is beauty in that, and encouragement, because you will be better off for it. As for me, I can tell you right now; I wouldn’t change a thing about this incredible experience, and I will cherish it for the rest of my life. One of the best things the Honors College does is require its students to study abroad. The value of this experience can never be underestimated. So for everyone who hasn’t gone abroad yet, get excited, because you are about to have the adventure of a lifetime.
Lorenzo de Medici Institute