I want to thank you for being patient with my blog posts. Lately the wifi has been very challenging and that is something that I have had to ADAPT to while being in Italy. Speaking of adapting, that will be the topic of the blog for this week.
What does it mean to be adaptable?
In my opinion, in order for a person to be adaptable, they must be able to adjust to different situations.
According to Forbes, there are 14 signs of an adaptable person.
I decided to blog about adaptability, because I think it is a very important quality to possess. If you are truly interested in studying abroad, then you have to realize that this is going to be an adventure where everything can go entirely right, entirely wrong, or somewhere in between. With that being said, you have to learn how to adapt to certain situations and learn from them.
For me, it first started when I realized that I was no longer going to be attending the school I have been going to for the past three years. It was basically me starting over my freshmen year of college and I was extremely nervous. I had a fear that people at Concordia would forget about me and that I would not make any friends on this new adventure. I had a really hard time getting excited for this big trip because I was so nervous. I was reminded by my family that this is exactly how I behaved when I was leaving for college my freshmen year. They said it is all about being able to adapt and not to worry so much. When I landed in London, I was the first person there and I had to figure everything out on my own. I had to watch where the people were going and I had to read different signs to get where I needed to be. It felt really good figuring things out on my own and I felt a little less nervous. Once everyone arrived to London, we went to explore the city on our own. We had to figure out how to use the train and how to buy the oyster cards (train passes). We had to adapt to our surroundings and follow what everyone else was doing. We became experts at London’s underground system and we were pretty excited about it.
The hard part was leaving London, a place we had become so familiar with, to go to a new destination where we did not know what to expect.
When we arrived in Florence, everything seemed completely different.
It took a while to get used to our new surroundings, but we figured it out easily. One new thing I had to adapt to was how long I had to walk to school from our hotel. Back in Chicago, I lived on campus so it took me no longer than five minutes to walk from my room to class, but here in Florence, it takes me about 30 minutes to get to school. I couldn’t believe it when they told us it took that long! I can honestly say now that I have become used to that long walk, and I can do it with no problem. It is actually a beautiful walk to school and it is a time to spend with friends.
On the plus side, I am used to walking around the Oak Park area where my school is located. I would usually walk to the downtown area to grab food or to catch a movie. I also had to take public transportation on the L to go to downtown Chicago so I think that really helped me out in the long run.
Now I was not walking as much back home as I have been in Italy. In Chicago, I would say I averaged about one – two miles a day, but in Florence we walk over 10 miles a day. Needless to say I will be coming back home with well-shaped legs.
Another thing that I had to learn to adapt to, was a new language. Since we are in Italy, everyone speaks Italian. That is the language that everyone is learning at school right now. It is very complicated and frustrating because they only speak in Italian and they feed us so much information that it becomes very overwhelming. I feel like everyone is picking up the language easily and I am the one who is far behind the pack. I had a lot of talks with family and friends about this frustration of mine, and they told me to stay positive and to ask questions when I do not understand something that we have learned in class. We also have been learning the language for only a week now and it is hard to learn a new language in that short amount of time.
Weather in Italy is very unpredictable. When they call for rain, it usually does not rain.
I remember one morning, the weather was looking dreadful it was very cold. The night before the forecast called for rain and cold weather, so I did what any reasonable person would do… I put on rain-boots, and a rain-jacket. Of course, to my luck, the weather cleared up and it was an absolutely beautiful day.
I thought it was really funny because I could not change like I normally would back in school so I was only able to take off my jacket and hoped for some wind to cool me off. I guess no one can ever really predict weather, but my lesson for that day was to dress in layers so if it gets warmer later you can have cooler clothes underneath.
Lastly, another thing that I have had to adapt to is the food.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Italian food. BUT it is a lot different from what I am used to eating back home. I don’t think I have ever consumed so many carbs in my life. I have always loved pasta but I would have never imagined myself eating it on a daily basis. I’m glad that we walk so much because I can be sure that I have burned off all of those carbs.
If you want to study abroad, I would suggest you start expanding your taste buds, because it is always good to try new things. You also have to remember that since you are in a different country, they will more than likely not have what you are used to eating. For breakfast I have been used to eating cereal, now that I am in Italy, I have had to get used to having a croissant every morning with some fruit. I have also found myself eating less meat than I usually do at home, so I have to remind myself that I need a balanced meal to stay healthy.
So far, it has been such an exciting trip and I have learned a lot about myself, and about this beautiful country, I cannot wait to share more about my experiences with you! Feel free to add me on Facebook or Instagram to check out more of my images. Also if you have any questions, feel free to ask.