Today’s blog post comes to us from University of Alabama student Max Peterson. He’s studying abroad with us in Florence, Italy! His personal blog is highlighting his adventures as a first-time traveler. Read more below!
I’ve been taking an elementary Italian language class for two weeks now.
On my daily visit to the bar just outside of my apartment complex, Café Agora, I decided I would try out my newly acquired ability to order my drink in Italian. This is word for word how this situation panned out:
“Buongiorno, can I help you?”
“Si, un caffé, per favore.”
“Si…. Yes… one Espresso please. Thank you.”
“Yeah… you’re welcome.”
Lesson learned: not every experience I will have abroad is exceptionally wonderful. But by creating experiences based on what propels me out of my comfort zone, every experience abroad is exceptionally memorable.
My trip to Florence has been almost a complete four years in the making.
I knew from the moment I set my sights on The University of Alabama that my college experience would include a semester abroad no matter the destination, no matter the circumstances. As junior year grew closer my expectations for what I would get out of this experience grew simultaneously. The expectations of others that this would be the most fantastic semester of my life set a precedent that I felt the need to adhere to from the moment my plane touched down in Italy.
My fellow study abroad students and I spent the semester prior to our travels hearing about how we will remember this experience for the rest of our lives. We heard it from friends who had traveled for summer semesters, from family who have ventured here for vacations, and from program leaders who had witnessed the evolution of students from their first day to their last in a foreign country. We were guaranteed that we would create a multitude of memories every day that would last a lifetime.
Now I am finally here, four years have flown by and I am exactly where I said I’d be.
After an apartment switch on the first night, an accidental credit card cancelation, the washer flooding my new apartment, and unhinging the door to the balcony, I can say that my first two weeks in Florence have been exceptionally memorable. Not all wonderful, but memorable nonetheless. I couldn’t possibly ask for anything more than that. Not expecting every day to surpass the one prior in levels of fun and excitement has allowed me to settle into my new home, and to instead expect that every day is an experience that I have worked hard to have and I will cherish no matter what kind of memorable it may be.
“I refuse to look back thinking days were better just because they’re younger days.”- One Republic
(I like the idea of ending every post I write with a relevant song lyric, but feel free to let me know if that’s a bit lame.)