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Study Abroad Blog

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Farewell Florence!

  As I’m sitting here helping my friends pack for their flights home, I can’t help but think about the whirlwind semester I just had. It’s hard to believe that I’m leaving in just 24 hours; the time has gone so fast! I can honestly say that studying abroad was one of the best things I’ll probably do in my life and it’s been an invaluable experience.
            In just four months I’ve accomplished things I never thought I’d do in a million years. I successfully traveled through six countries on my own with little more than basic street smarts and a credit card. That alone makes me feel like I can take any situation in stride, which is a really good feeling. To me, there is nothing more stressful then navigating through a maze of trains and buses in a foreign country with no knowledge of the language when I’ve got a plane to catch. If I could do that without losing my mind then I can probably do a bunch of things without blinking an eye.
            Another great thing about studying abroad that I’ve gained is reassurance about my choice of major and future career. As an art major in a small town university without a prominent art community, I was beginning to feel like I was stuck in a rut with no way out. Coming to Florence was probably the best thing I could have done to remedy that situation. Florence has an absolutely enormous art community and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some incredible artists and historians who have been so extremely inspiring. I’m still not exactly sure what specific career in the art field I want to pursue, but I am absolutely sure I’m doing what I love to do. Also, seven of my eight housemates are art students as well and to have a close bond with all of them has been fantastic. Even after we leave this experience we plan on keeping in touch and I’m sure they will be lifelong friends of mine.
            I’ve had a wonderful last week in Florence, from dancing in the street to a three-piece band and watching my roommate reluctantly participate in a Charlie Chaplin street performance (…hilarious) to eating all my favorite gelato flavors one last time. And of course I have to say a huge thank you to CEA! I couldn’t pick out one flaw in their program if I tried, and without the excellent service they provided us this experience wouldn’t have been as enjoyable. I wouldn't recommend studying abroad with anyone else! Even though I’m sad to leave this beautiful city I’ve called home for the past four months, I’m excited to take the things I’ve learned and apply them to the future. I’ve also enjoyed sharing my experiences with you all over the course of the semester, and I hope you enjoyed reading them. I’ll leave you with one last look of a few of my favorite photos from Florence. Ciao amici!

The carnival ini Parco delle Cascine. Don't worry, that kid didn't fall out of his seat!

The carousel in Piazza della Repubblica, right outside of the CEA campus.

View from the Ponte Vecchio. It's so nice when you can catch the Arno river on a calm day.

View of the bell tower of the Duomo and Piazza della Repubblica from the Duomo dome.

View from the Pizzale Michelangelo. Ciao Firenze, you've been good to me!

Loren Benton
CEA MOJO in Florence

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