Is it normal to eat this much pasta?

Ciao from Firenze!!

I have been here for about a month and a half and I feel like I am finally getting adjusted. The city of Florence is not too big, so we walk EVERYWHERE. My main food groups in Florence include pasta, pizza, gelato, panini, and the occasional healthy salad, so I hope all the walking cancels this out.

I live in an apartment with two of my friends from BC, and two girls from Providence College. We’re on the fourth floor of a building that has a very sketchy elevator, so yeah, I prefer to walk up the 85 stairs. I now feel prepared to stop avoiding the Million Dollar Staircase when I return back to BC. I am studying at Florence University of the Arts, which mainly consists of American students from other schools such as Fairfield, Saint Joseph’s, University of San Diego, and Loyola Maryland. Since I have classes four days a week here, it’s nice to have a long weekend to travel. Italy is in a pretty central location of Europe, so I have been traveling to tons of places on the weekends like the Amalfi Coast, Munich, Madrid, Paris, and Dublin. After a week of midterms this past week, we have a weeklong fall break to do more traveling to London, Lisbon, and Barcelona.

Although I have taken an Italian language class for seven years of my life, everyone knows I’m still American and will talk back in English even when I think I blend in so well. Even though a lot of people speak English here, it definitely helps knowing some Italian so can I ask for directions or translate menus for my friends.

There are also so many American college students here so I haven’t really felt homesick. I get a serious case of fomo every time I watch Snapchat stories from BC tailgates or see #gassongrams on Instagram, but I know I am having a truly incomparable experience abroad and it is going to be so worth it!

Arrivaderci
~ Lauren D’Alessandro

A picture from the first day in Florence!

A picture from the first day in Florence in front of Santa Croce!

Lost track of how many Margherita pizzas I've eaten

Lost track of how many Margherita pizzas I’ve eaten

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Livin’ the London Life

Hello hello! Or “cheers” as they say here in London! This is Alicia McCormick, checking in after my first couple of weeks here at Queen Mary University of London. I am loving it so far! Plus, it is a great school because it is the only university in London with an enclosed campus and it’s a bit outside of central London, just like BC!

Settling in here was a lot easier than packing was. I told myself I would not over-pack, but alas, I did. Yet, I still have plenty of room for all my clothes, with the giant dresser in my room! I also enjoy the luxury of having my own bedroom and bathroom, so it will certainly be an adjustment going back to BC’s dorms next semester. The flat I am in is shared with 9 people total; myself and two other Americans, as well as 4 British girls, and 2 boys from Korea and Romania. The diversity of my flat extends to the university as a whole as well. I have met people from so many different places here, including Brazil, Italy, El Salvador, France, Bulgaria, Canada, China, and of course our lovely city of Boston :).

What is great about the university system in the UK is that there is Fresher’s Week, meaning we have an entire week on campus before classes even start! Granted, this week is intended for the freshmen, it allowed us study abroad students to have plenty of fun as well! I got to explore all over London and beyond, including taking a boat cruise on the River Thames, going to Greenwich (and taking a pic on the Prime Meridian!), seeing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and visiting Stonehenge! This is such a beautiful country with so much history. I’ll also add that for the most part the weather has been absolutely beautiful here, but I don’t want to jinx it! I think I brought over the summer sun from Boston :P.

Now that classes have started I am getting into a bit more of a routine, but it is still so different than home since most classes only meet once a week. My schedule worked out so that I only have classes on Monday and Tuesday (plenty of time for traveling and exploring London!). I already have a trip planned to Sweden and I am working on getting flights to Rome, as well as a few other places! My semester abroad has kicked off to a great start and I cannot wait to see what the next few months have in store!

-Alicia 🙂

Tower Bridge on the River Thames

Tower Bridge on the River Thames

The Prime Meridian in Greenwich

The Prime Meridian in Greenwich

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

The Beautiful Buckingham Palace

The Beautiful Buckingham Palace

Gassongram 2.0 aka Westminster Abbey

Gassongram 2.0 aka Westminster Abbey

Big Ben

Big Ben

classic London

classic London

Stonehenge!

Stonehenge!