Hi everybody! I touched down in Florence January 8th, and have been loving it ever since I got here! I am taking very interesting classes and have also met a ton of really cool U of M students, who I didn’t know until this trip. It took me a little while to get used to some of the cultural differences, but now I feel much more assimilated and I hardly notice some of them. One of the biggest ones I noticed right of the bat was the driving. HOLY COW the people here drive like maniacs. The streets are extremely narrow and curvaceous, yet the drivers still fly around, blowing through stop signs, and somehow managing to miss all the mopeds zig zagging through traffic. I quickly learned that pedestrians do not have the right of way, and to always keep your head on a swivel.
On a more academic level, I am loving my classes. My favorite is the History of Art in the Mediterranean. In that class we learn about why different styles of art are prevalent in certain areas of Southern Europe, and we learn about how different religions and civilizations all played important roles in shaping the culture of the region. Last week in that class we were able to tour a baptistery that is over one thousand years old, and next week we will be touring a museum that contains many ancient statues.
So far this semester has been going great, and I can’t wait to see what February brings. Hopefully my Italian will improve a little bit, and I am excited to continue to experience European culture. Thank you for everything and I will keep you updated next month!