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Week 4

This past weekend our group took a trip to Sienna and Brolio Castle where we walked around the town and participated in a wine tasting. The castle was absolutely stunning and gave us a beautiful view of the Italian countryside. Sienna was an adorable little town with a lot of history and the cutest little shops.

The second day was one of my favorite days of the entire trip. We went to Cinque Terre, a beautiful costal town with colorful buildings and beaches. I spent most of the day sitting on the beach with some gelato just looking around and taking it all in. If you ever go to Italy, Cinque Terre is a MUST-visit!

I’ll be honest and say living in Florence for a month was not easy, especially during the hot summer months. Most of the apartments in Florence do not have air conditioning, even having a fan in my room didn’t get the job done. Water was very hard to come across and when I finally found it, it would cost an arm and a leg! Bathrooms weren’t easy to find either and you often have to pay to use them. Living in an apartment with nine other girls was also an adjustment, especially since I have lived in a single room at Lake Forest since my sophomore year. Walking everywhere and being constantly surrounded by hundreds of people can be claustrophobic. But I wouldn’t have changed any of that. 

My experience has made me semi-nostalgic for home and aware of all the things I take for granted. While of course I am excited to travel back to the US and to see my family, friends, and boyfriend, it’s bittersweet. This city is so beautiful - I’ll miss the ease of taking a seat and absorbing the scenery for hours. Going back to the hustle and bustle of Chicago is going to take some readjustment!

I have always thought that if you have the opportunity to go abroad you absolutely must take it. When else in your life are you going to be able to so easily immerse yourself in another culture? It takes some bravery to do a study abroad program, but I promise you that it will pay off in one way or the other. I am thankful for my experience and Lake Forest College’s wonderful Center for Off Campus Programs that worked closely with me to make these four weeks possible! As they say in Italy, “addio!”