Friday, May 13, 2011

What I've Learned Thus Far

Ciao Darlings,

With mere days left until I return home to New York, here are some things that I have realized about myself and some discoveries I discovered while studying abroad in the beautiful country of Italy.

  • You may think that it can't get worse than your home campus library, but it can. I had to e-mail any files I needed printed and then go to a separate building down the street to wait in line and then print. Awful.
  • I love gardens. Borderline obsessed. 
  • Edit group work projects yourself. (I learned this the hard way)

  • When going into museums or any building for that matter, always look up. More often than not the ceiling will be painted or decorated.
  • Invest in a camera that does not take blurry pictures when in motion. I have snapped beautiful pictures in transit and no longer have to run to catch up to my friends if they leave me behind while I stop to take a picture of something awesome.
  • Be a traveler, not a tourist.
  • Try, really try, hard to speak the language. The locals appreciate it more and you will feel more accomplished when they understand and answer you back in their language. 

  • Plan ahead. Look up times days before leaving and don't book anything until details are concrete. The only exception to that is if you find a great deal and need to book it then. But be wary, as sometimes doing that will cost more in fees if you need to change something. 
  • Create a budget and keep track of finances. Stick with that budget! 
  • If your on the fence about buying something, ask yourself if you are going to regret it if you do/do not buy it. If you know you can't live without it, pick it up. Otherwise, leave it and go get a gelato. 
  • Making lists are the best way to stay organized and see what you need to do and when. They are your ultimate friends. 
  • Despite what people say, you can wear heels on cobblestone. But be prepared for your friends to leave you as it will take you 10 minutes to walk down the block because your looking down so as to avoid stumbling/ breaking your ankle. 

  • Keep a journal every night. I bought one and wrote in it sporadically and regret not writing every night. 
  • Bring your camera with you everywhere.
  • Wander during the daytime and get lost. It's how you discover things. 
  • Rick Steves guidebooks can be your best friend
  • Trust your gut instinct. It's usually right. 
Any other tips you want to contribute, please leave them in the comment section and I will gladly add them to the above list!
Eternally yours,


Closet Fashionista said...

Oooh I love all these tips!! I was on the fence about bringing my journal on my trip, but I guess I should! :

Couture Carrie said...

Amazing life lessons, darling!
This should be required reading for anyone studying abroad!


P.S. Fabulous news, darling ~ you are the winner of my Thigh Highs Giveaway! Just email me your size (S/M or M/L) and your full name and U.S. shipping address to claim your prize. Congrats!

Abby said...

I agree about journaling. I didn't write very much when I was in France, but I wrote more in India. And then I wrote EVERY day in Israel and I love reading back through it. It takes time, but so worth it.

Oh to Be a Muse said...

oh what a fantastic post. i love what you had to say about being a wanderer during that day and that you should be a traveler and not a tourist. it's great to go off the beaten path when visiting a new place and seeing things for yourself. and yeah, i wore heels on the cobblestones in belgium and it was difficult but doable.

thanks for the tip about looking up in buildings!

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

Great tips! So true, too. There's nothing that makes me happier than exploring new places :) Have a safe trip home.

Abby said...

I need one of those cameras, too! Mine does not do well at all unless I'm standing still... sad. Glad you had a magical time!

Maddy said...

Great lessons! I especially like your tidbit about being a traveler, not a tourist. Whereever I go, I try to soak in as much of the language, food and culture. For me, that's the best part of traveling! As for blurry pictures, most cameras (even the point and shoot kind) have "sports" setting. That will freeze motion, perfect if you're taking shots from a moving vehicle :)

Fashionistable said...

Great post. Beautifully written. My camera is with me everywhere. Xxxx