First Month In Italy

My first month in Italy has been an absolute whirlwind. I have (somewhat) successfully learned to navigate the city of Florence, completed a semester’s worth of marketing, and have become accustomed to walking roughly six miles a day in flimsy sandals. Disregarding my grossly overdue need for a pedicure, I have undoubtedly enjoyed and cherished every moment I’ve spent here. There is no shortage of information, advice, and narratives I could and want to share, however, certain moments seem to better encompass the study abroad experience.

This past weekend was spent in the Amalfi Coast, one of my newly discovered paradises. We hiked, swam, and cliff-jumped our way through Capri, Positano, and Pompeii, stopping only to enjoy fresh seafood and lemonade. Wanting to avoid the crowded beaches immediately below the city, a small group of us took a five euro private boat ride to a nearby shoreline. The beach turned out to be completely deserted, allowing us to enjoy a blissfully secluded three hours of swimming and sunbathing. The day came to an end with a short gondola ride up to the some of highest cliffs in Capri. The sight of the island below and seemingly endless ocean was truly unforgettable.

At night, most students spent their time at the rooftop bar within our hostel. Lined with couches and chairs, the towering building allowed for a impressive view of Sorrento and the Tyrrhenian Sea. With perfect weather and a great group of friends, the trip was easily my favorite weekend of my stay here.

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Our departing bus ride took us on the narrow roads that connect the cities on the coast. Each time we rounded the corner we were met with a specular view of the sun-lit cliffs in the distance. As we drove further and further away, leaving the sun to set behind us, I was struck with a sudden realization. Anxious, I wondered to myself when, or if, I would be back here. Not only “here” as in the beautiful Italian beaches, but “here” as in such a fleeting, yet unique point in one’s lifetime. Young and able to travel with such carelessness and ease, we are indeed a rare and lucky group of people.

Studying abroad takes certain comforts from you- sleep, familiarity, certainty, AIR CONDITIONING (what a spectacularly elusive convenience here); however, it gives back far more. The people you meet, the constant opportunity to travel and explore on the slightest whim, and cultures and ideas you are exposed to far surpass any discomfort. There lies a unique sense of freedom in this reality; this “here” sheds light on the endless opportunities we have as students abroad. There ten cities checked off my list so far, and I can’t wait to see what else the following months have in store for me.

Audrey Vasina is a student at the University of Georgia and an official API Student Blogger. Audrey is studying abroad with API in Florence, Italy.

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  1. AndreaSophia says

    . . . . Indeed a rare and lucky group . . . Yes, I would agree. I love what you wrote here. I did not discover Italy until I was almost 50 years old. And, for all I have done in my life, I always said that I would do it all over again, not change a thing. Except for one thing that would have changed everything – get to Italy when I was much younger, when it was much cheaper to traipse around. So, I have been to Italy 6 times, since 2007 for 2 to 3 weeks each trip, slowly nibbling away at town after town. I too, am learning a lot about all Italy has to offer. One day, I might go looking for some blood relatives. In a few years, I plan to find a family to trade houses with for a few months. I live in the beautiful Adirondack Park of NY.
    Enjoy your life, your travels and your education.

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