Katy McLaughlin

Florence, Italy


I believe that traveling is one of the best opportunities a person can take in life and I will no doubt take any chance I can get to travel.  I always loved going on trips when I was younger and I am always looking for a new adventure. However, I believe I caught the real travel-bug after my first time out of the country.

Following my sophomore year of college my roommate and I decided to go travel around Peru for two weeks.  I was nervous at first, for I was leaving the place I had known my whole life and was completely stepping out of my comfort zone.

After experiencing such a different culture and meeting fellow travelers from all around the world, I realized how much the world has to offer outside of my home.  After this trip I knew traveling and exploring new places was my passion and I craved for more of it.

College is the best place to take as many opportunities as you can to travel.  I’ve tried to take advantage my time at KSC.  I always wanted to study abroad but wasn’t sure if it was going to be possible as my second semester of junior year began to creep up.  I’d taken positions leading an Alternative Break trip in the spring and leading a trip to Ecuador in May as part of the Fair Trade Club.  I did not regret those choices, yet I was still dying to study abroad.

I knew it had to be done as I had heard from so many people that had finished college that not studying abroad was their biggest regret.  Although I have no regrets, if I could go back I might have done it differently so I would not have had to miss half of my senior year. But I knew in the long run this would be one of the best decisions of my life.

After getting over my initial “fear of missing out,” or FOMO, from home, things in Italy couldn’t be better.  I am making the most of it.

Contributed Photo

Contributed Photo

Florence is a beautiful city and has so much to offer.  The buildings, churches and museums bring many tourists and are all worth seeing. There are gelato places, souvenir shops, cute coffee shops and my personal favorite, Panini and sandwich places.

I am almost halfway through my time here and there is still so much I have yet to see.  I love walking around with my friends and discovering new places to eat, shop or get gelato. Sometimes we get lost but that is when you find the best places and as long as you know the direction back to the Duomo you can always find the way home.

Getting involved in clubs here has been amazing too; a lot of the time it just means free food!

I have joined the Regions of Italy club, where each week we taste food and wine from a different region of Italy.  Also, the Cooking Club has been one of my favorites, learning to cook in a beautiful kitchen about the central market has been quite the experience.

The central market is one of my favorite places to go here in Florence — it’s incredible.  The food is so fresh and the atmosphere of the market with all the vendors and shoppers is great.

Another  great thing they have here is apertivo, where you order a drink and get a free buffet of the tastiest appetizers.  It is seriously the best and I wish they had this concept over in the states!

Of course, another awesome thing about studying in Italy is that it is located centrally in Europe, which makes traveling around Europe so easy.

I have had the opportunity to go to Prague in the Czech Republic, Munich in Germany and England so far which have all been amazing.

Traveling on the weekends is so much fun and always an adventure but it is always nice to come back on Sunday and be in a familiar place where I know my way home without looking at a map.  Florence has become my temporary home and I’m so grateful to be here living in such a beautiful place.

Even though I had traveled before, this is the longest I have been away from home. I feel that I have grown already in my time here and have learned more about myself through this experience.

I know I am lucky to have had this opportunity and just like everyone says, studying abroad will probably be the best experience your life and now I can truly believe it.

Share and Enjoy !