“The Birthplace of the Renaissance”

As I continue to research Florence, Italy, several of the words I’ve seen used to describe it include “magical,” “spellbounding,” and “captivating.” The funny thing is when I read these not only do I equate them to the experience of exploring the streets of Florence, but to the experience of Cultural Routes as a whole. I am beyond excited for this upcoming journey as I believe I will be both challenged and amazed in ways I can’t begin to imagine. Anytime I jump into conversation with members from previous groups, they have a contagious energy that makes my heart beat a few paces faster and my eyes widen in anticipation for what is to come. As of now, I have grasped the fact that I should go in with zero expectations!!!!!!!(this was heavily stressed), embrace independence, and be open to developing friendships with people I may not initially expect to.

Personally, I am excited to venture outside of this country for the first time in my life and have my eyes opened to the variety of lifestyles and cultures across the globe. Currently, I am seriously lacking in my knowledge of history abroad and I am passionate about changing that and having my perspectives challenged. I am enthusiastic about getting a first hand experience of new ways of thinking and living.

On a deeper level, I am wondering what it will feel like to arrive in a place in which everything is completely unknown to me. How will I respond? What emotions will take precedence? What thoughts will enter my head? What sights will draw my attention? I would like to think that it will all be a breeze, but I have a feeling this is far from the truth. I am considered as someone who has a great deal of self-awareness, so I am intrigued to discover what new things I will learn about my own tendencies and character throughout this time away from home.

Mark Twain once described Florence as the “city of dreams.” From what I’ve read and heard thus far, I believe it is because the artistic nature can be felt with each step taken in this beautiful city filled with rich history. The ancient churches, extraordinary architecture, and museums including famous pieces of work such as The Statue of David leave lasting impressions on those who have the ability to take sight of them. During my conversation with a CR9 student, her time in Florence was characterized as “walking and living in the midst of the history of an old Italian city.” As someone who is a hopeless romantic and adores both people and emotions, this enchanting city is sure to put a smile on my face and happiness in my heart. Whether I’m watching a rowing race, staring at Galileo’s finger, or admiring the pure Florentine leather in street markets, I know without a doubt the lovely culture of Florence will leave me in awe.

By request of Dr. Pitcock, I have been asked to leave you with something “scintillating.” With that being said, I view this experience as quite ironic because although a huge part of it will be alongside 15 incredible peers I will know on a completely different level, I believe a huge portion of it is centered around self discovery. The craziest thought of all is that although we will all be seeing/doing the same things, it will have different meanings to each and every one of us–how fascinating. The art of wayfinding is a beautiful thing.

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