Lauren Baker :: From Italy with Love
My name is Lauren Baker, and I am a rising junior studying journalism and political science. Right now, I am studying abroad with seven other ADPIs in the most amazing place in the world - Florence, Italy.
All spring semester we had been excited for this trip, and it is so surreal to finally be here. As soon as we decided to go, we received so much support and encouragement from other ADPIs who had done the same program. With detailed recommendation lists and lots of research and planning, we left hopeful for the six weeks ahead of us.
Well, with less than two weeks left, let me tell you this experience has been everything I hoped for and more. We have traveled to incredible places such as Cinque Terre, Rome, Venice, Pisa, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast and are headed to Switzerland this weekend.
One of my favorite days was when we went to Capri off of the Amalfi Coast. We began the trip by taking a ferry from Sorrento to Capri. When we got there, we were all so shocked at how beautiful it was. Seriously, everything I saw just kept getting more unreal. We then found a local to take us on a private boat tour around the island. The local turned out to be the same guy who took my big and some of my friends’ bigs on the same tour the year before. He was the best person ever, and I think we all fell in love a little (if you are ever in Capri, tell Enrico we miss him). We spent the day soaking up the sun, jumping into the beautiful water and touring all the cool sights around the island like the Blue Grotto and Lovers’ Cove. After that, we explored the town, went shopping and ate fresh seafood at a restaurant overlooking all of Capri. On our ferry home, we immediately started planning an annual trip to come back.
However, even with the busy and glamorous days like Capri, some of my favorite memories have been just wandering around Florence with everyone I came with. I seriously could be anywhere with these people, and we would have the most amazing time. Our daily activities like feasting on the greatest Italian food, touring museums, struggling through morning language classes, buying entire new wardrobes, taking cooking classes and bargaining with street vendors turn into the most fun adventures, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Also, the fact that I get to live with six of my best friends in one apartment is unreal. If you were to come over at almost any minute, you are guaranteed to find three people making pasta at once, a massage train, way too many people in a twin bed and us laughing at something for way longer than we should. All of our closets have morphed into one giant one, and I don’t think I have done my own makeup more than twice this trip. We don’t have a TV, for we find other ways to entertain ourselves such as playing intense mind games for three hours and going through extreme measures to religiously watch The Bachelorette - even though it is blocked in this country (team Tyler C).
Thinking about leaving this place and these people so soon is beyond depressing. To anyone reading this who is thinking about studying abroad: DO IT. Seriously, this has been the most rewarding experience. I have learned so much about myself and other cultures, and I have truly made so many memories that I am never going to forget with friends I am going to have forever.