How to make the most of your semester in Florence

Making it count

Cristina Di Loreto
February 5, 2015

If you are planning to come to Florence for a semester, then you already know that you’ve picked one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Whether you are heading to Florence to study Italian, the arts, history or another area, one thing is sure: you will want to make the most of your time here. Here are six tips to follow:

 

1. Prepare before departure. Your experience begins long before you land at Peretola. As far ahead of your trip as possible, do some research and make a list of the places you absolutely want to see. Start to learn Italian, even if it is just the basics. Watch movies in Italian with English subtitles, ones that you already know well, to become accustomed to hearing the language.

 

2. Learn the language. Take the opportunity of being in Florence to learn how to speak good Italian. For example, if you’d like to improve your pronunciation, pretend to be Italian. Try to visualize yourself as a Florentine and imagine how you would act and speak if you were a native. This trick can help you gain confidence in speaking Italian for the first time.

 

3. Keep a travel journal. Find a nice notebook and keep it with you to jot down your thoughts, moments and discoveries. It will help you to capture the details of your experience; moreover, writing is the best way to start an inner and profound dialogue with yourself.

 

4. Hang out with the locals. You can’t really know Florence if you don’t see it through the eyes of those who live and work here. Make new friends and it will also help you to learn the language.

 

5. ‘Rubare con gli occhi.’ (Literally, ‘steal with the eyes.’) This Italian expression means that you learn new things by looking. For instance, if a Florentine cooks ribollita for you, then observe, take notes and try to recreate it for yourself.

 

6. Preserve your memories of Italy. When you go back home, create a memory box. Print your photos, take a Florentine paper box and fill it with the memories you took with you, including your journal. Every time you open the box, you will live the moment time and time again.

 

“The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.” ―Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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