In less than twenty-two hours, I’ll be flying over 4,000 miles to Florence, Italy where I will spend the next four months living in Georgetown’s Villa le Balze. As I sit on my bedroom floor surrounded by two empty suitcases and piles of clothes, all I can do is laugh to myself. While preparation for my semester abroad began months ago, I still feel like there is an endless list of things to do before I can finally begin my journey.
I do what I’ve done countless times before, and convince myself that I do my best work when I’m under pressure. It is hard to believe that the day is almost here. This time last year I knew that I wanted to spend the first semester of my junior year abroad—I just didn’t know where. I entertained the idea of spending the semester in Sydney surrounded by crystal clear water and white sand, then considered a semester on the Baltic Sea in Copenhagen, before finally deciding on a semester in Florence.
As summer began to wind down and co-workers and family friends asked me about my impending junior year, I watched their eyes widen when I would enthusiastically tell them that I would be living in Italy for a semester. Their excitement was always followed by the question of why I chose Florence. At first I would only mention the obvious attractions—incredible food, rich culture, interesting history. However, to me, the appeal of studying in Florence reaches far beyond homemade pasta and gelato.
As a student in the McDonough School of Business, I wanted use my study abroad experience to explore my creative side as I hope to one day find a job that combines business and analytics with imagination and ingenuity. The art and inspired culture of Florence will compliment the strong analytic background I have received from my business classes. I hope that the combination of my business-centric education and the experience of living in the heart of the Italian renaissance will give me a unique and well-rounded perspective.
While I initially thought that choosing where to study abroad was the hard part, I divert my eyes from my computer screen and take a second to scan my room. I see my unpacked suitcases, heaps of clothes, and sticky notes scattered about with barely legible reminders hastily scratched onto them. Months of preparation and I don’t feel prepared at all. For the first time, my disorganization doesn’t bother me—because I know that in less than a day I will be with my classmates in Florence, dining al fresco with a bottle of wine, talking about all we hope to see and accomplish during our semester abroad.