(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..
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.
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!
“occasionally she dreams of italy. she dreams of cheese shops, persnickety fiats, and very fine leather goods.”