Thank You, Florence


This semester, two CCI students will be sharing their experiences studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Follow them on their journey as they deal with culture shock, language barriers, and a total lifestyle change.

By Latisha Ellison 

It’s hard to believe that my time in Florence is almost over, how did four months go by so fast? People had always told me that studying abroad would change my life, and I always wondered if would really do that for me, but it did. In the past four months I have gained more independence, confidence and a greater appreciation for life just by studying abroad.

As young adults in college, we all gain some independence just by leaving the house and living on a college campus, but when that campus is an ocean away, that independence amplifies tenfold. I have tackled minor challenges like figuring out how to flush the toilet to bigger ones like navigating the Barcelona Metro. I know that if I was able to figure those out, I’ll definitely be able to finally figure out the PARTA Bus at Kent!  From surviving an intense two-hour hike in Cinque Terre to losing my phone in Barcelona, being abroad has given me more confidence to handle any challenge that life throws at me.

Traveling has been a surreal experience because on one hand, I couldn’t believe I was actually in these amazing places and on the other, I was so incredibly grateful to be there and tried to enjoy every minute. It’s so easy to take your life for granted and even when you think you have it bad, you have to remember that your worst day might be someone’s best day. I have three nephews and a niece, so I have a huge soft spot for babies and children anywhere.

I was brought to tears when I was walking the streets of Paris and saw a family with two little boys, probably four and six, sitting on a mattress—they were homeless. In that moment all I could think about were my little ones back home and wonder why I had been given the opportunity to see the world, but these little boys might not know what they’re eating for breakfast. It wasn’t fair, it still isn’t fair; however, I think I was given the opportunity to explore the world in order to realize that I have a bigger purpose here. I am a citizen of the world and that means doing what I can to help those around me.

I have already donated to charities I care about, but that’s not enough. When I get back to the states I want to be more involved in actually creating change; thankfully, being a public relations major means I can do just that! I’ve never cared so much about politics or current events until I came over here and couldn’t be at home to fully do my part. I’m thankful for the past four months because it has been the greatest learning experience I have ever had. I think I always had a little fire inside that wanted to do more, but Florence has ignited the flame.


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