I just finished half of the semester, and I am still astonished by how it went by so fast. It still feels like I landed in Florence just yesterday, which is so crazy! I’ve gotten settled into all my classes here and life on campus, and I’ve realized that there is so much to explore outside of school and on campus. I recently found out that one of my favorite actors of all time, Marcello Mastroianni, filmed a movie on our campus in the 1970’s and I literally almost cried (don’t worry, I didn’t though!!). But in addition to our lovely campus, I love my classes because they are very interesting and I feel as if I am learning something new in every session. My professors are all great, and I definitely feel happier in school because of my exciting lessons and the atmosphere of Villa la Pietra as a whole!
Everyone is so nice here, and it is actually so easy to make friends. One thing that made me nervous about studying away was leaving all my friends behind in New York and starting afresh in a completely new place. However, I have met so many amazing people here from all the different NYU schools, which is kind of hard to do in the New York campus after freshman year. There are also a lot of students from NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU Shanghai, and other universities as well, which is great because I never would have met them if I wasn’t here!
As a complement to my studies, I decided to take on an extracurricular activity as well. NYU Florence has opportunities for community engagement which I highly recommend to anyone interested in studying here. I am a part of an organization called Ars et Fides, and we provide free tours in all of the major churches in Florence. On Tuesdays, I give tours at the Duomo (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore) along with some other college students and locals as well. At first, I was really intimidated by the amount of material that I had to memorize for my tours. However, now that I have given tours for three weeks now, I feel more at ease with the idea of doing so.
After a hectic week filled with midterms, it was finally time for Spring Break! I wanted to the South of France, because I’ve studied French for seven years so I wanted to practice speaking the language. I would’ve gone to Paris as well to visit my aunt who lives there, but she will not be back in France until April so I just decided to take a trip around Provence.
I went to Turin, Italy for a day, since my bus to France was leaving from there. It was very beautiful, and definitely has a different vibe from Florence. The architecture is classic, and the best part about the city was seeing the Alps in the distance. It is a much underrated city, as people usually only visit Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan when they visit to Italy. However, I highly recommend that everyone go visit! The next morning, I took a bus to Lyon, France. I LOVED Lyon, and I think it was my favorite stop on my journey. It was so stunning, and there was a lot to do there. I went to the old town, some amazing Roman Ruins, and a cathedral called Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Lyon was super hilly though, so if you do decide to visit, bring some comfortable shoes!
Next, I decided to go further down to Marseille, France. I wanted to go there in particular because it is a port town, and it has been one since Ancient Greek times! I went to the old port, the Opera, and the Palais du Pharo. There’s also a cathedral on top of a hill, Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, which I sadly did not get to see due to the limited amount of time I spent there. But, I still got a pretty good view of the city as a whole. Next, I decided to spend a day in Monte-Carlo, Monaco! It was so beautiful, because the city itself is built onto the side of a mountain! I saw the famous Monte-Carlo Casino and Opera house, and I would have seen the Prince’s Palace as well but apparently you can only visit starting April 2nd. I was so upset about that but I still had a great time otherwise!
So, those are my updates so far! If you need any suggestions on travelling, budgeting, community engagement, and class suggestions while in Florence, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or hit me up through Facebook! Until next time, ciao!