Sunday, October 11, 2015

My Fear of the "Emotional Rollercoaster"

It is now the fourth week of my study abroad experience and I am happy to say I am just as excited as I was when I first arrived in Florence. Prior to studying abroad, I was nervous about the “emotional rollercoaster” that people told me typically happens during your semester abroad. This “emotional rollercoaster” is the series of emotions you may encounter while you are away. The first week or two is known to be very exciting because everything is new and you are constantly meeting new friends. The next stage you typically hit is the “depression stage”. Throughout this stage, the the new, fresh feeling you had as you first landed has faded and your work load picks up in school. In addition, you begin to miss your friends and family at home and you realize you have to adjust to the different cultures and customs of the country you are in. Luckily, I would consider myself in the second phase of this “emotional rollercoaster” and I have not been sad at all. Although the Italian culture and the language they speak are different, I am able to hold on to a positive attitude and try my best to learn the Italian style. 

Although I do not have Italian in my blood, I am obsessed with the language and the culture, so it makes sense why I would choose to study abroad here. Practicing Italian is a lot harder than I thought it would be (the majority of people here speak fluent english) so in hopes of becoming fluent and learning about the Italian lifestyle, I became friends with an Italian student named Alice who goes to Accademia Italiana as well. My Italian professor introduced us to each other in the hallway when I was on my way to class. We exchanged numbers and she answered back to me that same day! I am so excited this happened because I wanted to meet an Italian student from the start, but I found it difficult because I didn’t have any classes with them and I am not yet confident enough with the Italian language to go up to a random Italian in the hallways and start speaking to them in their language. Luckily, Alice is very nice and welcoming. We just met a few days ago and have already planned on meeting sometime this week or next week. I’m excited to finally practice Italian and to learn more about her! I’m so curious about the places she shops at or where her favorite bars and restaurants are. I’m a little nervous to meet with her because unlike texting, I know I do not have google translator in front of me to help me out! I feel like this will be a great push for me to practice Italian and I will hopefully get the insight I’m looking for so I do not have to feel like an american tourist anymore. 

This past week was a very busy one for me. In addition to meeting a new Italian friend, I finally got myself a phone with an Italian number! I wasn’t going to get an Italian phone at first because my parents got a texting plan for me so I can text back home, but I needed a number for around here just in case I needed to get in touch with someone from Italy and I didn’t have wifi. Fortunately, I found a phone store where you can rent a basic Nokia phone for free and you pay as you go. Texts cost 12 cents per outgoing text and calls cost 15 cents a minute. It was the most perfect option for me and now I will be prepared in case of an emergency! 

Even though I’ve been very busy with everything, I have not been feeling overwhelmed at all and I am still looking forward to the new experiences during this semester. It is already flying by! 

Here’s a picture of my new phone! I never thought I’d use one of these again, 
but it's very convenient so I love using it here!



  1. I applaud you for seeking friends who speak Italian. It shows how much you really value your experience there and embrace the differences in cultures. I too was warned about the emotional roller coaster and I am now 11 weeks into my trip so my classes are almost over and I'm starting to feel it a little. But that is mostly in regards to classes. It's great to hear that you're doing well and I can't wait to hear about your next experiences.

  2. It is nice that you did not experience the "emotional roller coaster" that other students experience when studying abroad. Its also great that you are excited to continue to learn about Italy's lifestyle. Meeting new people from different places is a great thing. You will learn a lot about the Italian culture through the friends you make so keep trying to meet people!

  3. This blog was great to read as a student who is thinking about doing study abroad. It seems like such an amazing opportunity but I have always been wary of the "emotional roller coaster" that people say goes along with study abroad. It was very encouraging to hear that you had such a positive experience and are challenging yourself in all the right ways. This blog made me realize that maybe studying abroad in a country that does not primarily speak English is not an impossible feat after all. Thanks for sharing your experience as a study abroad student so that students like myself can see the benefits of going abroad. Good luck with the rest of your trip, I hope it continues to be this amazing and positive!

  4. As a freshman who is also in the D&M program I love reading your blog posts about your experience studying aboard in Florence. I could never study in a country that I don’t know their native language fluently. I can relate to how you are feeling and the emotions you describe that most study aboard students experience. During my first week of Drexel, I was wrapped up in all the activities Drexel had to offer during their first ever Welcome Week and was not really feeling homesick. However, around week 3, the school work started to pile on and I was starting to miss my family. I do not live far away from Drexel and have the luxury of going home for the weekend. Even though you can’t go home for the weekend and visit your family, at least you can text them and keep in touch. But it seems like you are not too homesick and are skipping over the “depression stage”. I can not wait to hear more about your journey in Florence and how your meeting goes with Alice!

  5. I am really interested in doing study abroad, so it's great to hear that you did not experience the common "emotional rollercoaster." I can definitely relate to this though because it's week four here at Drexel and the depression mode has officially begun! I'm glad you aren't experiencing it though, because being away from home is downright scary, especially in another country! I could never study somewhere where I don't know the language- it would really overwhelm me, so props to you! Best of luck in Italy!

  6. It's really cool to hear about your Florence experience because I've always wanted to live in Florence! It was interesting to know that you're having a hard time with a language barrier because I didn't think that would be such a big issue in Italy. I expected a language barrier to be present in PaIt's really cool to hear about your Florence experience because I've always wanted to live in Florence! It was interesting to know that you're having a hard time with a language barrier because I didn't think that would be such a big issue in Italy. I expected a language barrier to be present in Paris and Prague, but I didn't think there would be any in Italy! It was also really nice to hear aboutris and Prague, but I didn'tthere would be any in Italy! It was also interesting to hear that you were feeling homesick around week 3. I can relate to that a little but because around week 3 &4 as the work load started to get heavier , and everyone got sick I started to really miss my mom, I hope you have a great time during your study abroad and that you start to make some more Italian friends!