After 6 weeks in Italy, I have truly learned a lot. If you're just now going on a study abroad program, here are the things that might help you while you're abroad!
1) Cabs: At night, cabs charge at least an extra 4 euros and tend to charge extra if you aren’t outside waiting when they show up. So if you are going to call a cab, make sure that you are ready and waiting outside so that you don’t have to incur that extra charge.
2) Shopping: Booths that sell merchandise can usually go down in price if you act like the price is too high. So when you see something you really like, ask how much it is and see how the guy reacts. A lot of the things I got in Florence were half the price the seller told me, because they were more interested in making a sale and they know they are selling it at too high of a price. If you find something in one of the booths, get it! It might be the last one you see and don’t think that you will find another one somewhere else. It sometimes happens that you can’t find another one just like it.
3) Act now: If you see a cool art exhibit or shop that interests you, don’t just say that you will go there another time. You have no idea if you will have time later on and might live to regret not going to the store or exhibit. You also could end up forgetting where you were when you said you wanted to go there.
4) Get to know the locals: If you want to find the best bars, go where the locals go. My roommate and I went to one of the public pools and met some locals and ended up finding one of the best bars in Florence because of it. Getting out of your comfort zone is how you should be living your study abroad life, because if you don’t live every moment to the fullest or just hang out with the people from your school you aren’t getting the full experience and aren’t getting to know the country that you are in.
There are many other things that I learned from my study abroad too like: don’t stay up until 5 a.m. when you have class the next day, pack lightly for excursions on the weekends and don’t forget to pack a bathing suit when traveling abroad (no matter the weather!).
I know that many of my readers have learned other things from their study abroad, so in order to help other readers please write what you learned too!