What am I doing in Florence?

As of today I will have been in Italy for approximately 3 days. Each day has brought about a new emotion and many new discoveries. Right before leaving for Italy, I had a moment of panic. What was I doing going to a foreign country without knowing the language and not knowing who I was going to live with? Even as I got on the plane, went through customs, and landed in Italy, I had this same feeling of panic. I have left the country many times, but never on my own and I just was not very sure of what was going to be waiting for me. Before I could even process that I was in Italy, the Accademia staff shuttled me over to my new apartment. I felt both jetlagged and just confused as to where I was. Soon after I had arrived, one of my roommates came and as we talked to one another I had this feeling of familiarity come over me. It felt just like freshman year at Drexel. You are meeting new people, making friends, not sure of what to do in this new place, and constantly looking a little lost. Before our other roommates arrived, we went to go find food, which ended up with us finding food and then roaming around the city unsure of where to go without any directions. Eventually we made it back home and met our other roommates and were able to share a dinner.

The next day was orientation. We found our way to the school and were given lots of information. The biggest thing I noticed is how personalized the accademia experience seems to be. The three directors of the program already knew many of us and were very willing to work with us to fix schedules and make our time in Florence the best it could. It was nice to know that someone is there to help when you really need it. After orientation, we set off to attain documents we needed to obtain our permit of residence, as well as get SIMS so that we would no longer be completely helpless roaming around the city. Doing this took up our whole day but also allowed us the opportunity to get a better feeling of where we were.

Between the first and second day I had already obtained more awareness of my surroundings and was able to identify landmarks so that I would be able to find my way from place to place. Today, on my third day in Florence, I had some more orientation, as well as a walking tour of the essentials in the city center. The rest of the day was spent doing more errands to get ourselves situated in our new homes. In three days I already have this feeling of calm, and all the panic I felt right before has completely vanished and instead I am filled with excitement. Walking 10 miles a day around a beautiful city with people you just met is most definitely a strange experience, but it is one I am really enjoying. In the coming days I hope to be able to venture on my own and explore the city at my own pace so that I can gain my own level of comfort and independence in Florence as I did in Philadelphia.

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