Learning the Basics

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Orientation Day 1

Starting on Thursday, we had a schedule of different orientation events. There are 80 TCU students here - the biggest in TCU history! Because of the number of students, we were split into two groups. Thursday morning we took a cab (I just wanted to make sure we arrived on time and was afraid we would get lost walking on our first try) to the ACCENT center where Group 2 had our Program Orientation. The director of the center talked a bit about himself and his background. He has studied abroad in a few places, including Disney World which he wrote his college thesis on. It was a lot of going over general information and rules. We did learn how to properly lock our door, so that was nice to know! Their main rule was "If you don't do it at home, don't do it here. At the end of the session (3 hours!), we filled out paperwork. It might not be the highlight of the trip but it was necessary. Before we left, I asked one of the ladies who worked there advice about blisters. I have one the size of a quarter on my right heel. She was super nice and helpful. She lead me to a room where I could show her! She was like no worries, I have sons and daughters and your feet can't be any worse than theirs. I had them bandaged enough, but she did write down a creme that I could find at the pharmacy.

Once we left ACCENT, we headed home but stopped for some pictures and sight seeing along the way. ( and to get my creme!)  Once we were closer to home, we met up with one of my roommate's twin sister. How cool that her twin is studying abroad in Florence as well?!?! (they do go to different schools). After lunch we headed back home, where a short nap was in order. My nap ended because of our apartment check. A lady from ACCENT came over to show us where everything was and to answer any questions. We found out our apartment was recently renovated and we are the first to live in it since! Which makes sense, because everything is super nice, including our appliances/bathrooms. She showed us where a lot of the kitchen supplies were. She explained how she told the landlord to get some of the things because we would be needing it. Which is a nice worry off our shoulders. As she was leaving, she talked about how much she loved our country. She talked a little bit about the gap between the two. In Italy a lot of things, like the electricity, heat, water, internet etc., have limits. It's not even that the landlord isn't willing to pay for upgrades but there is just a limit the city can handle. (If our lights do happen to go off, we have emergency lights in the hallway that will go on...how neat!) In comparison to the U.S., we don't have to worry about a lot of stuff.

For dinner, we had to head back to ACCENT. This was our first time walking to and from our apartment to the center. When we were getting close, I spotted a TCU backpack and we ended up following them the ACCENT because we figured they knew what they were doing. The lasagna at dinner was good and there was an empty cheese roll with the cheese inside!! Once dinner ended we headed home. We walked back and only got a little lost! We did find a school, and per my request we took a selfie.

Orientation Day 2

When I woke up yesterday, you probably could have put me on a flight home and I would have been just fine. It's not that anything bad had happened or that I had a mental breakdown and cried myself to sleep. I just have had a roller coaster of emotions. One minute (well usually during the day/when I am busy) I'm excited for this semester but then the next minute I don't know how I'm going to make it the full sixteen weeks. Thankfully, this day was really good to me, especially since I woke up feeling so blah. 

Now the feelings are out of the way, we started the day off yesterday with a tour around Florence. I'm pretty sure we had the best tour guide. She was so knowledgeable and it was neat hearing background stories to a lot of the places. She also recommended a lot of places to try out and even a shoe store! I made sure I wrote them all down. Near the end of the door, we visited this cute coffee place. The cup may deceive you, but I actually had hot chocolate. It was a little different then back home, very rich, but AMAZING. 

The tour ended right in front of ACCENT where we had lunch. The two directors from TCU talked to us for a little bit. They shared that TCU will probably open more places to study abroad soon because the program is growing. They are also evaluating the Florence program, but said that they ( and ACCENT were impressed with us! From ACCENT, we headed to orientation at our school, Lorenzo de' Medici. We got our schedules, and info packets. They went over a lot of the rules, services, and policies. There are even clubs like photography, ceramics, cooking and even pilates you can join. Madi and I are even looking into a internship type opportunity for elementary education. There are so many opportunities between ACCENT and our school, I don't know how I can do everything in 16 weeks! Once orientation was over, pretty much every TCU student, if not all, stood in line to get our Italian textbook for class. Once were done with orientation we headed back towards our apartment. We live close to a park, and found a restaurant near there for dinner. I had pizza.....surprise, surprise. 

Orientation Day 3

Compared to some of my friends, I haven't experienced a lot of sleeping problems. I quickly fall asleep once I hit the bed and wake up whenever my alarm goes off. Well,this morning, that changed. I woke up about 2am and didn't fall back asleep till around 4am. Luckily, we didn't have anything scheduled in the morning and it gave me the perfect time to call my mom!

We started off the morning with a trip to the grocery store, Conad. We figured it was about time to get the ball rolling on groceries. I have to say it was pretty successful. We dropped our bags off at home and unloaded then headed to this small bakery by our house (it has quickly become our favorite). We picked up some bread and lunch!

Once the afternoon rolled around, me and Madi went to do some more exploring with our friend Colleen. We are actually 3/4 sophomores on this trip! Because of our majors, studying aboard was either now or never. We decided to spend the day at the Palazzo Pitti, or also called Pitti Palace in English, and it's gardens. This place has so much history! It is also huge!!! We kept imaging what it would be like to live there or even grow up there.

Next, we set out to find Venchi, a gelato place. This was one of the places our tour guide suggested. We also heard there was a wall of chocolate, like a chocolate fountain on a wall. We felt it was well deserved, after all the walking we just had finished. We didn't see the wall, but the gelato was still worth it. I couldn't tell you the names of the flavors I got, but I can tell you it was delicious!

For dinner, ACCENT scheduled a cooking class for all the TCU students. When Madi and I got home   from our day adventure and sat on our bed we didn't even want to get up to go! Our feet were tired from the 10+ miles of walking. But of course we went! We are in Italy, about to take a cooking class, how hard can life be?!?  Luckily, the place was very close to our apartment and we didn't have to walk to far. When we started heading that way, we ran into a big group of TCU girls. The address on the paper we were given was wrong. We searched down the street for this place, and even rang the doorbell of a wrong place (oops.) We probably looked strange, a group of twenty girls walking down these narrow streets. Thankfully we were in it together, and finally found the place! We were separated into two kitchens and started the lesson. We made a pasta (homemade), a pork and potato plate and desert. It was good and a fun experience! The chef even taught us some knife skills. 

We don't have anything scheduled for tomorrow. It is suppose to rain, so we are planning to hit up some of the museums. Most are free on the first Sunday of every month! If you have any recommendations of places to visit while I am here, let me know!

Hugs & Blessings!


  1. We are so excited for you and love reading about your adventures. Definitely not surprised about how fast you found pizza. I can still remember you out eating Dave in pizza when you were 3 years old. :-)

    Love you!

  2. Kayleigh, I so enjoyed reading about your adventures! Thanks for posting this! Excited to be able to follow your journey! Love, Jan Stephan


Powered by Blogger · Designed by Pish and Posh Designs