Studying abroad in Florence, Italy is an opportunity I will cherish forever. Immersing myself in a culture and environment so different from what I am used to was definitely very far outside of my comfort zone, especially with my family and friends thousands of miles away. However, one thing that made this experience particularly special was the fact that I had multiple brothers with me, which made the trip far more memorable.
While in Italy, I learned a lot about myself personally and professionally. I challenged myself by attempting to speak Italian at local cafes and restaurants, while also visiting local museums for my Renaissance Art History class. It took a few days to acclimate to traditional Italian customs that are different from the U.S., like eating dinner after 8:00pm and not tipping servers at restaurants. The main difference that surprised me was how much slower and relaxed Italians’ day to day life is as opposed to Americans. We are so used to being work-oriented, and rushing from one thing to the next. However, the Italian lifestyle taught me that it is crucial to step back and take in the little things. These little things are truly what made my experience so unique, whether it was a morning run around the Arno River or grabbing a cappuccino with a friend.
During my time in Florence, I also had the chance to visit other cities within Italy and other countries as well. I visited Greece and Croatia with multiple brothers, as well as Rome, Cinque Terre, Pisa, and Siena. Navigating public transportation within Europe and Italy was daunting at first; however, with practice, I realized that it was not very scary at all. I think this summed up the entirety of my trip: although it is a pretty scary thought to travel across the world alone, once I acclimated to the new environment and culture, Florence quickly became like a second home. I urge all brothers to study abroad and develop a global perspective, as it truly granted me with insights and lessons that I could not have gathered here in the U.S.
– Bridgette McCooey, Class of 2023