Saturday, May 3, 2014

I leave for Florence a week from today - I can't believe it's actually happening. For six weeks, I'll be living just outside of Florence with another MSU student and a host family. I'm so excited that we will be living in a neighborhood outside of the main downtown; perhaps one of my main goals for this trip is to spend more time with my host family and local Florentines than my fellow American students. During this time I'll be taking two courses: the first on art, culture and politics in Renaissance-era Florence, and the second is an Italian language course taught by native Florentine speakers, both of which I am ecstatic about.

After the study abroad portion of my trip ends, I'll be traveling with my cousin, Danielle, to Paris, London, and Barcelona over the course of two weeks, before heading back to East Lansing. Although I have been to Europe before, I'm looking forward to experiencing this trip as a 21 year-old, rather than an 11 year-old. That, and the fact that my last trip to Europe did not take me to any of these cities.

Most excitingly, I will get to spend time with my family that lives in Rome throughout the six weeks that I am in Italy. I am so looking forward to this part of the trip - I haven't seen them since I was 11. Although this trip is at its most basic level an academic one, I can't express how personally important it is for me to live and explore the home of the culture that has so strongly shaped the contours of my identity and really been at the center of my life since the beginning. If nothing else, I expect to leave Europe with a closer connection to my culture, language and family history, in a much different way than I have been able to connect with this piece of myself in America.

I will attempt to update this blog regularly with writing and photos over the course of the next two months in order to share my experiences with those of you back in the States. This final week at home will be full of packing, errand-running, family and food; and then I'm off!