Enoying the artistic adventures in Florence, Italy

By Mia McGovern

Junior Mia McGovern enjoys a refreshing beverage out in the warm, Florence sunshine.

Junior Mia McGovern enjoys a refreshing beverage out in the warm, Florence sunshine.

This semester, my friend Laura and I are studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Trying to channel my inner Lizzie McGuire, I’m hoping to make the most of my four months here and maybe even become a pop star in the process.

So far, Laura and I have had some really great experiences. We met some Italians our first night here who showed us all of the less touristy spots to go to, and of course we have awkwardly run into them everywhere since then. We have become regulars at a café called “Oibò” and have received some pretty impressive personalized cappuccinos from our barista friends, and admittedly we (okay, I) have gotten lost around the Duomo multiple times. However, I have realized that it is okay to get a little lost sometimes because I always stumble upon a new gelato place to try, which has become a daily meal here.

When I’m not eating gelato or going to class, I’m traveling. Last weekend, I went to Cinque Terre for the day with some friends, which was gorgeous. It is a coastal place in Northern Italy that is known for its five beautiful towns with colorful houses that overlook the Mediterranean Sea. While there, I hiked from one town to the next, stopping to catch my breath while I admired the incredible views, ate the best pesto pasta of my life and floated around in the sea.

This weekend, after a 12 hour bus ride, I have been exploring Croatia with some friends I made here. So far, we have gone to the beach, which I have missed so much, tried some Croatian food and gotten soaking wet walking home in a thunderstorm. But the weekend has just begun. I have booked a few more trips for my time here, including Tuscany, Venice, Oktoberfest and “Winter Wonderland” in Austria.

Still, even when I am not traveling, it is amazing to be able to walk around and explore new parts of Florence I have yet to see. I pass the Duomo and Santa Croce Church daily and think about how lucky I am to have this opportunity to study here for four months. The initial honeymoon phase where everything about the new culture seems perfect and amazing is starting to wear off though, as I start to get frustrated that I am unable to indulge in peanut butter or put ranch dressing on my pizza. It has even started to annoy me as I barely survive walking down the streets with cars and vespas driving up on curbs and narrowly missing me.

That being said, I am still in love with Florence and the culture. I especially love walking up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, a spot that overlooks the city of Florence, for its breathtaking views. Freshman year, I was unsure if I wanted to study abroad or not. I had just started college at the most beautiful school in the world so why would I want to leave it for a semester? Not to mention that I had never been away from my family, friends or boyfriend for anywhere near that long, so who knew if I had the courage to go? But ultimately, I am so happy and thankful that I decided to go abroad, especially back to my roots in Italy. And I’m so excited to have one of my best friends here with me to get cappuccinos, gelato and pizza with all day, everyday. Whether it is for two weeks or two years, I definitely encourage everyone to go abroad if they get the opportunity because I have already learned and experienced so much, and I am only three weeks in!