Name: Sydney Vize’15
Majors: Studio art and literary studies.
Hometown: Austin, Texas.
Where are you studying abroad? Florence, Italy
What is your favorite place in your host city/country? The piazza of the Duomo at night, the Boboli gardens during the day, and the town of San Gimignano when crowds and noise in Florence starts to be overwhelming.
What is the best meal you’ve had abroad? I've had a lot of the best meals I've ever had in my life here and keep having more, and everything is so delicious that it all starts to blend together. Truffle oil and fancy cheese are used very liberally in almost everything, which makes it all hard not to love. Baked gnocchi, bread soup (sounds weird but is incredible), and pesto from Genova for sure are at the top of my list.
What did you miss most from home? I weirdly miss cheddar cheese a lot, as well as the general expectation that I won't get run down by a bus/car/moped at any given time.
What is the biggest difference between Beloit and your host city/university? Similarity? Absolutely nothing here runs on schedule. I thought Beloit was relaxed about punctuality, but I was pretty alarmed at my insane schedule when I started class in Florence. Classes, trains, and meetings with people are automatically given a 20 minute time buffer for starting and ending no matter what. Being casual about time wasn't really my thing when I got here, so that took me a bit to chill out about, but it's probably been very healthy.
Also, I'm used to usually not being the fanciest person in the room, but it's taken time to get accustomed to every child, old person, and dog being better dressed than I have ever been in my life.
What has been your proudest/most exciting moment abroad? Some of my proudest moments have been just general times when I've felt competent giving someone directions or dealing with a train breaking down or finding famous artwork around town by accident, but the most exciting thing is feeling more and more at home in a place that completely baffled me when I first got here. Whenever I'm traveling and can't wait to be back in my apartment in Florence, I remember all over again how good it is that I found a place here that now feels comfortable but still exciting despite being more different than I ever thought it could be.