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Lessons from a Semester in Florence

by Brianna Sitkowski
What I Learned from a Semester Abroad in Florence, Italy | AIFS Study Abroad

Last Updated on June 21, 2019 by Brianna Sitkowski

“Hey! Do you remember that time when…” has been the most popular phrase this week. I truly cannot believe that my friends and I are down to our last day together strolling the cobblestone streets of Flo-town (Florence) together.

Where did the time go and how did I get to the point of calling this place home? 

Before I left Chicago in January, I never in a million years thought that I would be where I am now: crying at the fact that I have to go home. I thought that I would be ready and that four months was more than enough time away from home, but it truly is not. Now that I am 150% comfortable with everything and everyone, my time is up.

As some of you may know, I am the only person from my school in this particular program, so I was actually starting fresh. New city, new school, and new friends. 

I was never scared of change. I have always embraced it, whether it be for the better or worst. It is what it is. If you want your life to change, you have to make the change.

This was a big change.

I knew that if I wanted my life to change, I needed to do this alone in order to grow as a person. Many people will say that you do not need to change your life if you live a great one and are a happy person.  But, I wanted more for myself. I did not want to settle for anything other than my highest standards. 

Living and studying in Florence has opened many doors for me and has given me the opportunity to reflect on what kind of person I am. I consider Florence home for this very reason. Yes, Addison, Illinois will always be home because that is where I grew up and where my family is, but Florence has let me experience life from a new perspective and I absolutely love every single thing about it.

It is really difficult to explain how being here and not at home has shed light on new things that I did not even know about myself. 

The most significant change that I wanted to apply to my life while here in Florence was living with no expectations: zero judgment, zero possibility of being let down, and embodying all things spontaneously. I can honestly say that I have standards for myself as a young aspiring professional, but sometimes having an open mind and adapting to changes in the moment is the most professional thing you can do. Learning this has changed my outlook on life and I am genuinely grateful for every single day that was spent here.       

Allora, grazie for the countless life lessons, new friends, unlimited amount of gelato, and the adventure, Flo. Nothing in my life up until now has brought me this much bliss. 

This post was contributed by Brianna Sitkowski, who has spent a semester studying abroad with AIFS in Florence, Italy.

What I Learned from a Semester Abroad in Florence, Italy | AIFS Study Abroad

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