This blog has been created to share the College of Staten Island (CSI) students’ experiences around the world. Dolphins across the Seven Seas provides the opportunity for CSI students, staff, faculty and beyond to gain insight into the study abroad experience. Additionally, Study Abroad Peer Advisors provide reflections upon their experiences as well as advice to potential study abroad participants. CSI is the single senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY), located in the borough of Staten Island.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Taking the Plunge in Florence ~Zachary Schwartz, Florence, Italy

Hello Readers,

My name is Zachary Schwartz, and I am a sophomore English major at the College of Staten Island. I am currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy for this current Spring Semester until May 13th. My goal in writing this blog for CSI is to hopefully convince one reader to take the plunge, grab the opportunity and consider taking up CSI on its wonderful offer to study abroad. You will not be disappointed.

Study abroad has always been a goal of mine. Just the idea of being hundreds of miles away from my home in a distant country sounded appealing to me. Not in any way because I hate living with my family but because the freedom I would have would be very gratifying.  I also recognized study abroad as a crucial growing experience in my young life. I feel it is very important to learn about other cultures and not just focus on your own at home. My feelings before leaving for Florence were emotions of anxiety, excitement and restlessness. I KNEW I was going to have a great time when I saw the seat next to me on my seven hour flight was unoccupied. I couldn't wait to start this new adventure of my life. Nothing sounded (and sounds) better to me than an espresso and pastry in the morning for breakfast and wine and pasta for dinner.

I arrived in Florence on January 18th. I was in Florence a week before school started so I decided to do all of the “tourist-y” things, so I could get them out of the way. The things to do in Florence seem almost endless. There are countless museums which hold the greatest art work in the world (one of which holds the Michelangelo masterpiece David - you can’t take a picture of it, but I’m determined to do so), as well as hundred year old ancient churches that you wish the United States had to offer. The most incredible sight of Florence is the one thing you cannot avoid even if you tried. Florence’s Duomo is a 600 year relic sitting right smack in the middle of the city. If you feel man (or woman) enough, you can climb up 426 steps all the way to the top and bear witness to the beautiful scenery Florence has to offer.

I’m only a month into my experience and so far it’s been more than great. Classes are interesting, food has been great and the people are awesome. I can’t wait to see what else Florence, Italy and Europe have to offer me. I’ll make sure to give you the most information that I can. Until next time…


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