By Andrea Arredondo

Studying abroad may seem to be a bit counterintuitive. You are traveling to a foreign country and encouraged to see new places, yet you also have to take classes and are given assignments to complete. You are told that you should interact with locals and try to soak up as much of this culture and community you are experiencing, but that can seem challenging when you have to meet deadlines. It may seem like a lot, or impossible to try and strike a balance between the two, but keep reading to see what an average day abroad was like for me! 

7:00AM- Although I certainly did not need to wake up this early, my roommate and I regularly left the windows open overnight, forcing us to wake up earlier than either of us liked. After getting up, the weather was pretty cool so, I liked to do some of my readings. About an hour later, more girls would wake up in my hall and I would great ready for class. Depending on if I had groceries, I would either make something in one of the shared kitchens or buy breakfast at a local café.

10AM- In the morning we had a two-hour long lecture. Lectures were usually held inside the Accent Center, but at times we would visit museums or go on walks during these blocks of time. Professor Looby was really great at making lectures interactive. Often, he would ask us to read passages and state our thoughts. In class, we would expand our conversations by connecting the readings to famous paintings or statues. My favorite day in class was when we were talking about a song reference in one of our books and Professor Looby suddenly started to sing!

12PM- Lunch time! The nice thing about having such a long lunch was the ability to go across the Arno to try new places AND still make it back in time for class. Sometimes I even used this time to get ahead on work, visit a museum, or talk to family and friends back home.

2PM- After lunch we would have another two-hour lecture, discussion with our Teaching Assistant, or site visit. My favorite class trip was when we went to see the Pitti Palace. Here we were able to look at art which dated back centuries. There were also more modern exhibitions which showcased the influence of the late Renaissance period on modern fashion. 

4PM- Up to you dude! Once class was over, we were never forced to stay at the museums or churches afterward. After class, we were free to do as we liked. Of course, we could stay longer, but some days I went back to my apartment to do homework or else where to explored the city (read “Under the Tuscan Sun” to learn my favorite after class walk). Although class met every day, Professor Looby was very transparent about the work he wanted from us. As such, I was always able to plan my excursions accordingly.

The things that makes studying abroad manageable is that your professors know you want to spend time exploring the city where you are at. Of course, they will give you readings and papers, but it’s up to you to use your time efficiently. After all, studying abroad is more than just what you learn inside a classroom. 

Andrea Arredondo studied abroad in Florence in Summer 2019.