Ciao Florence!

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

Hi you!

My last day as part of my study abroad program here in Florence, Italy has arrived! It is with bittersweet feelings that I am typing this up on my couch in my now-empty apartment. I have learned so much about myself in the past 7 weeks and am returning to the United States touched and changed by my experiences here. As a student who comes from parents that immigrated to the United States for more opportunities for their children, I feel so privileged to be able to even type this up. I had very difficult moments during this trip where I felt like I was in the wrong place and everyone around me seemed to be adjusting to this change with more ease than I was but all in all it was a great experience. With the difficult days also came days that I will never forget. I have made friends with some exceptional women and found ways to be pushed out of my comfort zone without totally losing it.

With that being said if you’re a first-generation college student or just a student from a similar background as mine and have an interest in studying abroad. Please look into it! At this time last year, there wasn’t a chance I would have thought that I’d be finishing a program in Italy and now that it is coming to an end, I don’t think I’ll ever regret it. At times it may seem like you might have made a wrong decision but all’s well that ends well! I had an unforgettable experience as someone who would call themselves introverted. This doesn’t have to mean hopping on a plane every weekend or going out every single day! Everyone’s experience is unique to them and will be memorable regardless! I can confidently say that I am a more confident person and learned more about myself.

All in all, Italy is a beautiful country and has so many different places to visit and see. I hope to return in the future and reminisce about my time here as a 19-year-old college student! Attached are some pictures from my last dinner in Florence which was a delicious flatbread pizza and my walk back to my apartment on the Santa Trinita bridge, a truly bittersweet moment (in my opinion I prefer Florence at night!). I hope anyone who’s on their study abroad trip or who is interested or will be attending a program finds some peace knowing that yes it can be difficult but it is also a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Melany Chavez Ugalde