12 Things I Learned About Italy In 3 Days

12 Things I Learned About Italy In 3 Days

What I've learned so far on this amazing study abroad experience!
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Currently, I am lucky enough to be studying abroad in Florence, Italy!! What better way to earn credit hours abroad in an amazing country? I haven't even been here for a full week, but I've already learned so many different things about Italy. Here're just a few:

1. Cars love to honk.

As soon as we left the airport, we went outside to get a taxi. There was a traffic jam and the Italians were NOT pleased. Everyone honks at each other, although it really does no help. But the honking didn't stop just there. Cars are always honking at each other for the most random reasons such as going too slow. The cars drive incredibly risky here yet they somehow never hit each other.

2. It's either move or get hit.

On the topic of cars here, this statement is very true. They do not care that you're walking in the street, they will just keep moving. So this is just a warning ahead of time.

3. Walking all day every day

The walking feels endless but you find some truly amazing places along the way.

4. You will want to buy everything.

Everything is more expensive, but everything just looks so much better here than it does in America. Limit yourself and you should be fine, but just know you will want everything.

5. There's always wedding photos being taken in front of the Duomo

The Duomo is a hot spot for tourists. You will find at least one person taking a picture in front of the Duomo every day. However, for some reason, I just so happen to have seen wedding photos being taken there every day I have been here. I mean heck, I want my wedding photos in front of the Duomo too. But it's pretty funny how this happens every day.

6. There's practically no A/C ANYWHERE.

One of the downsides of Italy. However, I promise you'll get used to it. You end up relying a lot on electric fans and open windows.

7. You're constantly thirsty.

And since there's no A/C, of course, you're always thirsty! However, another downside is that water is never free and it is rare to get ice served with your drink. But when you get a cold water, it's one of the best feelings.

8. Dogs. Dogs everywhere.

I can't even tell you how many dogs I have seen here. But it makes me happy beyond words.

9. The food is incredibly fresh.

People were not kidding about how good the food is here. It. is. AMAZING!! You can just taste the freshness in the pasta and the tomato sauce. And don't even get me started on the pizza.

10. You will eat gelato every day.

It's so good, it's not too heavy, and you love it from the first bite. I even found a place where gelato is only one euro a scoop! Score!

11. Everywhere you turn there's a gorgeous view.

This is no joke. Everything here is so beautiful.

12. I love it.

I haven't even been here for a week and I'm in love. I can't believe I get to spend a month here. If you have the chance, come to this beautiful place. You won't regret it.

Cover Image Credit: Wallscover

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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Day Four In Italy: Florence

This is the day we learned the history of everything

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Waking up bright and early we first took the tour bus to the country side of Florence where we visited a medieval town full of shops that lined a beautiful countryside.


CountrysideBrooke Burney

We spent about three hours here just looking around, buying things, and taking pictures. Once the three hours were up, we went to a winery where they explained how they made wine with the grapes in their vineyard.


In the vineyardBrooke Burney

After the tour, they fed us lunch with some of their wine. Then, after we ate, we passed through their wine shop and took the bus back to the Piazza della Signoria. On the way back, our tour guide was telling us about Michelangelo and his time creating the Statue of David. We had to stand in a line for about thirty minutes but when our time came, we were thrilled. We entered and saw artwork from many different artists. However, Michelangelo had a hallway of his own that was mostly filled with unfinished sculptures of statues with David being at the very end.


Statue of DavidBrooke Burney

After the tour of the art museum, our tour guide took us to the square where the churches were and gave us a history lesson on them. He gave us a background on the pictures that were painted on the doors and what they represent.


Brooke Burney

After this tour, we went back to our hotel where we were able to go eat dinner. My friends and I went back to the small square we first went to and ate in a small pizza joint.


Italian pizzaBrooke Burney

If you ever go to Europe, keep in mind that they have a hard time splitting orders. As we were sitting at this table, we asked for separate checks but they made us pay separately on a single check, which was kind of funny watching three American girls pick through their euros.

After dinner, we went back to our hotel to pack for the next day. To the train station, then Pompeii!

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