Shiney David, a Psychology major in the Verrazano Class of 2013, is studying abroad in Florence, Italy for the winter intersession. As a Verrazano Study Abroad Scholarship recipient, Shiney is sharing her study abroad experience on the Verrazano Voyager. Read below to find out how Shiney is doing in the beautiful city of Florence.
I have been in Florence, Italy for approximately two weeks now and my stay here has been more than amazing. Florence looked exceptionally beautiful in pictures and movies; however, viewing Florence with my own eyes has been an overwhelming experience. From the architectural scenery to the natural landscapes, Florence has not failed to mesmerize me. Although the first couple of days here were the toughest for me, it did not take me long to adjust to the Italian lifestyle and start feeling at home. A huge contribution to this adjustment was made by the people of Italy. Everybody here is so humble, down to earth, and helpful that you never feel like you are in a new strange country. Other than the people, the place itself captivates you with its beauty and you just forget about being homesick. The first time that I had to take a step back and literally pinch myself was when I saw the Duomo on my way to finding my apartment. The structure is so large and surreal that it almost looks like it does not belong there. Yes, it looks amazing when you search it on the Internet but seeing it in real is an indescribable experience.
Within the past two weeks I also traveled to Rome and Venice. I thought that nothing could be more beautiful than Florence; however, I was proved to be wrong once again. Venice, one of the most beautiful and most romantic cities in the world gave me the best memories to take home with me. I had only dreamed about riding a gondola and visiting Piazza San Marco. Actually experiencing it first-hand was an unreal experience. Rome left me speechless. The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Vatican City are just a few places that I had an opportunity to visit. The architecture and the history behind the architecture was very interesting, and I find myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to learn about it personally.
So far, it may seem that all I have done since I arrived is travel. Although I have seen a lot, I have also had great academic experience. My class is within five minutes walking distance from my apartment. There are eleven students in my class and my professors are the best professors I have had so far. My professors are very helpful in teaching me the new language. They take time out for each student and go over the material a million times until the student feels comfortable using it correctly. This aspect has helped me immensely in learning Italian. I have also seen significant improvement in my speaking ability as I am always interacting with an Italian-speaking population. In order to improve my Italian, I visit the market after class and interact with the locals. The people are so helpful and correct my grammar without being agitated.
I was nervous about coming to Italy and taking an Italian language class. Nevertheless, I can say now with confidence that studying abroad was the best decision that I have made so far. Now that I only have a week left, I actually don't want to go back home. In these past two weeks I have accumulated the best memories of my life and I will never forget this experience.
To learn more about the study abroad programs offered through the Center for International Service at the College of Staten Island, please visit the study abroad website.