friday five: abroad memories.

friday five: abroad memories.

 

(warning: lots of writing ahead)
i cannot believe it was already two years ago that i was stepping on a plane with just a suitcase and a backpack, embarking on three months away from home and friends to study abroad in italy!  my sister just left this week to go have the time of her life and it made me reflect on my own wonderful experience.
so in honor of that, i thought i would make today’s friday five a reflection of my top five memories of my study abroad experience!  honestly it was so hard to pick just five so i may have to find another way to incorporate this into another post, but here goes nothing..
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one: life at the villa.
our school has a campus in a hilltown overlooking florence where we rent out a villa and that is where we live, eat and have our classes.  it is different from a lot of study abroad programs where you will actually live in apartments in the city, whereas here it was what i always called “bc in florence”.  it was so nice to be in such a peaceful and authentic place but be so close to the city life, i mean you could see the duomo from our bedroom windows!  i loved just sitting in the courtyard outside and journaling or reading.  oh and literally rolling out of bed and shuffling downstairs to class in slippers was pretty great too!

two: a visit from my love.
during my spring break, i was lucky enough to have my then-boyfriend, now-husband come and pay me a visit.  we were able to spend time in florence, cinque terre, siena, san gimignano and paris and we had the greatest time ever.  it was our first time traveling just us two and we were so happy to see each other after three months apart!
also, that visit included my absolute hands-down favorite date night: it was the night before he was going to be leaving and his flight was super early and i was already crying so i had to gather myself and we did not make it to dinner until about 8. we went to my favorite pizzeria in our little town and accidentally made our way through two bottles of wine while just having the greatest time talking about any and everything.  well by the time we checked the time it was after midnight and he was supposed to be leaving in five hours!!!  no clue where the time went and the funniest part is the restaurant was still packed when we left!  (what was not so funny was the wine hangover the next day, those things are no joke.)

three: hiking the cinque terre.
those towns are just so incredible.  i mean the hike is seriously not easy but it is so worth it.  you are on this mountain climbing literally straight uphill but along the way you walk through vineyards and orchards, all while overlooking the ocean!  i have never been anywhere like that!  i actually loved this place so much i went back a second time 🙂

four: the beauty of switzerland.
whenever people ask me my favorite place that i visited the answer is always switzerland.  it was so funny because it never crossed my mind to visit until i stumbled upon sarah tucker’s blog and then i decided i had to go.  i am so glad i did; it was the most beautiful place and the kindest people.  the town was small enough to walk around everywhere so by the end of the weekend we felt like locals, we went paragliding over interlaken, ate swiss fondue, hiked along the swiss alps and made friends with locals and travelers alike at the town pub and hostel bar.  it was a different trip from all my others because it was less sightseeing and more outdoorsy and i definitely recommend it!


five: nights in florence.
this one night in particular.
i think all the other girls will agree it was one of their favorite nights too.  one of our friends’ brothers and boyfriend (now-fiance) had just come to surprise her so we all decided to go out that night in celebration.  i do not know what made it so fun, maybe it was because we had new friends to show around “our city” or the fact that it was one of our last weekends in europe or that our favorite instructor decided to join us, but it was almost magical.  strolling through the alleyways arm in arm singing loudly without a care in the world and wishing we could stay like that forever.  sigh.
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i wish i could go back and relive all those memories and more!  to anyone considering studying abroad i cannot recommend it enough.  not only do you get to travel to amazing places but you learn so much about yourself and what you can do when you are on your own and facing challenges.  a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience!
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“occasionally she dreams of italy.  she dreams of cheese shops, persnickety fiats, and very fine leather goods.”

 

  • Glad to hear you went abroad while you could. I am so happy I took the step (again – after I already went to an American High School when I was younger) and now I am even living abroad and will soon venture on again.

    For the past four years I have been in charge of the mentor program for the international students who were studying at the University of Copenhagen (only the Economics program though) and I loved to get to know people from all over.

    Does BC stand for Boston College? I had a scholarship to go there two years ago but never ended up going because the scholarship was actually just the study spot itself. And coming from a country where education is completely free (hell, I even get paid 1000 USD every month to go study – no kidding) it was quite expensive and decided against it as I was already doing a foreign country being from Germany and studying in Denmark.

    Love, Sarah

    • wow so lucky to have gotten to study in so many places!!

      my school was actually called benedictine college, it's a small college in the midwest and we all just call it bc. and i definitely don't blame you for deciding against the scholarship, can't say no to being paid to go to school instead of paying so much!!

      have a great weekend!

      xo mk

    • Being European definitely has it's perks as we can just move to whatever country is in the European Union and study under their laws (getting accepted into the program of course, depending on your grades). But we even have a credit system for that, which all the European university use called ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) with Bachelor fulfilling 180 ECTS over three years (30 per semester with 6 semesters in total) and 120 ECTS in most Master programs (therefore taking another two years). But enough about that 🙂

      I still miss the US and would love to live there again but it's hard to even get internships because technically I always have to check the box that I need a visa (which I would of course get, but I think a lot of application programs already filter out the applications where the "visa needed" box is checked). For now Switzerland has to be enough (no complaints here though – excited for the new apartment and all) but moving back to the US (I went to an American High School) is definitely on my bucket list 🙂

  • Amazing!!!! I am dying to go to Switzerland!!! I want to run around on a grassy mountaintop singing "the hills are alive!" Haha And I'm hoping to be able to go to Paris in the next year! I've always been told that Europe is easy to travel by train. Is that so? It sure would be nice to save some money on flights!! Beautiful pics girl!! I'm so glad you had fun!!

    • hahaha the sound of music takes place in austria you silly! but i will say that on our way back from that hike, we randomly stumbled upon a pasture of little baby sheep and oh my goodness it was amazing!!

      you would LOVE paris and switzerland and i think really anywhere in europe.

      and i am going to email you now about trains and stuff!

      xo mk

  • There is nothing quite like studying abroad and I too went to Italy!! Rome was some of the best times of my life! Interlaken in Switzerland is still to this day the most beautiful place I have ever been to!

  • I work in the study abroad department for a college here in VA and I adore hearing stories like these! Italy is about the only place I would most definitely consider living in full time! haha Happy weekend!

    • oh wow that sounds interesting!!

      there are so many places i would actually consider living, italy definitely being one, but the ideal would just to be able to travel all over i think! 🙂

      have a great weekend!

      xo mk

    • Definitely envy Jessi for her job. Sounds so perfect and interesting!!!

  • Oh goodness..YES! This brings out the constant wanderlust in me!!! 🙂 xx

  • What I wouldn't give to be in Europe and study abroad!! The Switzerland pic is stunning!! Happy weekend!!

  • You just gave me the travel bug! I want to hop on a plane ASAP and get my butt over to Switzerland! That photo was beautiful. I am so jealous of all the places you have been and I can't imagine how romantic it was to have such fun date nights with your hubs in all those places you mentioned! LOVE LOVE LOVED this post MK!

  • Ahhh Italy! I would love to visit someday! I wish I had been able to study abroad while in college. I think it's awesome that you were able to!

  • Okay, I think you're convincing me to go to Switzerland! I'm actually not sure I'll ever make it to Europe–but your description sure makes it sound amazing!! I almost studied abroad in college…at the last minute decided it wasn't right for me at the time, but I'm sure that's a life experience you'll never forget!

  • {Hello from the link up} I heart Italy!! I spent time in Venice and Verona, but never made it to Florence …looks like I have a good excuse to go back 😉 Switzerland is gorgeous! Your photos were breathtaking!! I only spent a few weeks in Europe, how amazing that you enjoyed months of it's beauty! Such a fun post! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Love you!! Can't wait to tell you about my fav five from studying!! See you sooner than you know.