Now that you are overwhelmed with excitement for studying abroad in Italy, here are some tips for studying in Florence that will make you so much more prepared for your time overseas. Florence is incredibly different from America and it takes some preparation to get ready for those differences. There is so much to do and see that these tips for studying in Florence will make sure you don’t miss a single experience.
1 Plan Ahead
After the initial excitement of getting to study in Italy, one of the first tips for studying in Florence is to plan ahead before you leave. Do you have a passport? Did you apply for a visa? Do you know what to pack? All of these things need to be addresses before you even start to think about all of the incredible things you are going to get to do in Florence. Make a to do list of everything you have to get done ASAP and make sure to schedule an appointment with an adviser.
2 Don’t Sit down
While you might love to snuggle up at Starbucks in those comfy chairs and enjoy a big hot cut of coffee, you might want to avoid doing that in Italy. Most cafes will charge an extra fee if you sit down at a table. You will notice it when you walk in and everyone is taking their espresso at the counter.
3 Use Your Free Time
You won’t have an overwhelming amount of work when you are studying abroad in Florence, and usually that would mean getting to relax and chill on the couch. But there are so many sights to see in Florence that it would be a shame to pass on them because you want to watch the next episode of “Orange Is the New Black.” Use your free time wisely and plan out which museums, gardens, and artworks you want to see in which order.
4 See the Italian Gems
While you may be super excited to travel to Paris, Barcelona, and Amsterdam on the weekends, you might be overlooking all there is to see within Italy. I found that I had the best experiences in the small, off-the-beaten-path towns in random parts of Italy. There are no tourist traps, everyone is incredibly welcoming, and there is still so much to do and see. So when you are planning your weekend trips consider visiting the smaller Italian gems like Tuscany, Siena, and the Amalfi Coast.
5 Be Careful of the Men
While we all have this dream where we meet our Italian prince and he whisks us away into a real life fairytale, that probably won’t happen while you study abroad in Florence. Sorry to burst your bubble, but most of the men in Florence are kind of creepy. They can spot an American from a mile away and know that most girls find European men attractive. Get used to being heckled on the street and hit on at bars. Most of the time it is best to ignore them and always travel in groups to feel safer. In fact, many of the Italian men might not even be from Italy; they are from Albania.
6 Be Careful What You Pack
You might want to think again before packing tons of short skirts and heels. If you plan on visiting churches or even some museums, you will be required to dress modestly before entering. That means knees and shoulders covered. And Florence is covered in cobblestone, which makes walking in heels almost impossible. Instead, pack tons of maxi skirts, cute long sleeve shirts, and comfortable sandals and flats.
7 Go across the River
If you want a really authentic Italian experience, hop across the Arno River and meet some of the locals. While there are not as many sights to see across the river, there is definitely so much culture to take in. That is where most of the locals live, work, and eat. There are tons of incredible restaurants and little shops. And that is where Piazzale Michelangelo is, which you do not want to miss out on. Try going across at nighttime to watch the sunset in the Piazza and then eat a delicious dinner at one of the many tiny restaurants around there.
Studying abroad in Florence is such an incredible experience, but there are many tips for studying in Florence that can make it so much more enjoyable. Florence is nothing like America and it can be somewhat of a culture shock, but these tips will make your time there a breeze. What did you think of these tips for studying in Florence? What are some other tips for studying in Florence? What did you think of your experience studying in Florence?