CCI Florence: The First 30 Days

By Michael Gallagher

The blogger is a junior Global Communication major who has previously studied abroad for two weeks in 2016 at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China.

It is hard to believe that the first month of my semester abroad has finished.  Only a month ago I was being dropped off at O’Hare International Airport, where my parents yelled at me for almost taking off my passport holder (I think I should note that I tend to misplace things, like a lot – but already it feelslike a lifetime ago. Weekly events and trips have made the days go too quickly. With so many things happening, it is important to stop and reflect. Here are the things I have taken away from my first month abroad.

  • Not letting the days slip past me. It is easy to get comfortable living in Florence, Italy,  and to take it for granted. But my time here is very limited and I need to be grateful for every scooter that zooms by me and the daily sight of the Duomo. Simple things that you can only get here in Florence. I think this is an important lesson to take with me everywhere I go. Sometimes at school I will rush the days to get to the weekend and not make the most out of every day. Here, it is easy to take advantage of every single day, but just as easy to let them slip by.
  • Not letting my emotions paralyze me. I tend to be the kind of person who over-stresses, over-thinks, and over-worries. I do this to try rush past the feelings rather than learning and growing from them. Here, I am trying to do the opposite. If I am feeling down, I try to validate why and let the emotions come and leave when I have fully processed them. When I am feeling down, I try to do something that builds me up. I walk around the city with gelato, talk about what is on my mind, or take photos. All these things keep me moving despite any anxieties that I am having that day.
  • Finding where I fit in our global society. It is a big world and feeling small and alone is very natural, especially abroad with friends you’ve just met.  But every person I am studying abroad with carries his/her own set of stresses, problems and fears. Learning about what makes everyone who they are has been one of the bests part of studying abroad. Since arriving in Italy, I have felt like I am finding my own unique spot in the world. Studying abroad has helped confirm who I am in many ways. From political and social beliefs to the types of jobs I hope to hold in the future. I feel like I am finally validating myself rather than needing someone else to validate me.

I am so looking forward to the three months that are still to come. I hope to continue and grow in my travels.