ACCENT Florence: Advice from Study Abroad Students

For this week’s post, our ACCENT Florence team asked students what they wished they’d known before traveling overseas to study abroad. With answers ranging from the culinary to the cultural, its clear that studying abroad is undeniably a learning process! Though you can’t ever fully prepare yourself for the experience of studying abroad, this is certainly a great place to get started.

We asked our students the question: What do you wish you had known before studying abroad in Florence? Here is a sampling of the responses we received:

Clothes and Packing:

  • To pack lighter, particularly less shoes and clothes
  • Not to pack leggings, flip-flops, school sweatshirts and other clothing items that are not commonly worn by Europeans
  • To pack more warm clothes and clothes that can be layered because it can get cold and rainy
  • To bring more than one pair of good walking shoes

Culinary Surprises:

  • Not to buy ice-cream in the city center because it is too expensive
  • That Grappa isn’t grape juice
  • That Mexican food is very hard to find abroad
  • That there isn’t ranch dressing here

Practical Matters:

  • How Italian phone plans work, specifically how to “top up” minutes
  • That Ryanair flights and other budget airlines tend to fly out of inconveniently located airports
  • That Europe conserves more electricity and water making washing and drying clothes more difficult
  • That your idea of cleanliness might not be the same as someone else’s
  • The average cost of everyday items in Florence
  • How easy traveling can be

Cultural Discoveries:

  • More about Italian politics
  • More about Renaissance Art
  • How much walking there is, a lot of people don’t hop in their cars to go to the store right down the street
  • How to walk on the cobble stones
  • That I would be surrounded by many other study abroad students
  • That English was much more common than I thought it would be
  • How rigorous academics abroad would be

As you can see, this list is wide-ranging and varied. Every student enters their study abroad experience with a set of expectations, but inevitably the experience always ends up surprising you in some way or another. Embrace it!

-ACCENT Florence

ACCENT is committed to providing study abroad programs that are unforgettable experiential learning opportunities for our students. If you’re faculty or a study abroad office and ready to collaborate on a new program, contact us at