Thursday, October 1, 2015

I Feel Like a Local

By Lisa Silberkleit

As I finish up week five in Florence, I must say that I feel like a local. Maybe I don't always dress the part, and maybe I'm not fluent in the language, but if someone were to ask me where I live, I would say Florence, no hesitation. Every morning I am lucky enough to wake up and remember that I'm here and that truly is a beautiful thing.

What I would like to focus this post on is not just life in this breath-taking and historical city, but also on travel and the experience that comes with that. My journey here was a long one and I don't even know where or how to begin. I have never flown without my parents before coming here and I must say that getting around on my own is very liberating and makes me realize that I can count on myself to figure out a lot more than I had suspected. It's scary to really be on your own. At UConn, my mom is an hour drive away, plus campus is just that-- CAMPUS. Going to school in a city is a huge adjustment to make from UConn, and I am proud to say that I have passed that test with flying colors.

After learning how to transition from Connecticut living to Italian living, I found that I could finally begin to experience the culture and Italy itself. My first euphoric experience since landing here was my trip down to the Amalfi Coast. I signed up with one of the many student travel agencies in Florence, and I can honestly say that I have never gotten so much out of three days in my entire life. It was rich and packed with beautiful sights, historical landmarks, and so much fun. First, we spent Friday on a boat tour around the island of Capri, and then went into Capritown to grab lunch. This was followed by a beautiful and relaxing beach day on Saturday in Positano. Then, the highlight of my weekend: hiking Mt. Vesuvius and touring the ruins of Pompeii. This has to be one of the most enriching experiences of my life (so far). Walking through Pompeii felt like walking through a ghost town in the most real sense. I couldn't have predicted a more eerie, intense feeling than what I felt while standing, pressed up against the gate that separated tourists from recovered artifacts and bodies. Yes, bodies. Real people who were really preserved for 2000 years under 125 feet of ash.

I am so thankful for the chance to see all of the historical pieces that make-up Italy, and the many more things in Europe as a whole that are to come. These five weeks have made for the most unreal, life-changing moments that I've ever been able to experience and I think that's the key to studying abroad. I'm sure that if you read up and down this entire blog, not one post doesn't contain the word "experience". And that's all that I can hope for in the weeks to come. More experiences that can turn into more stories for me to share.

1 comment:

  1. Great to read and how wonderful you are there!

    Professor Dancy