The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Studying Abroad in Florence


Michaelanne (Mikey) Albreada (WSU ’19), who spent the Fall of 2018 in Florence, Italy at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) shares her exciting experience studying abroad.

When asked what the best part of her experience was, Albreada said, “Seeing the world, especially all of Europe, meeting new people, traveling, having new experiences, and eating food.”

The food, she elaborated, was amazing. However, her face went sour talking about trying Empress Escargot; snails were apparently not her favorite.

Albreada raved about one of her favorite places to dine, a family style restaurant with unlimited pasta, wine, and antipasto on Wednesdays. This restaurant in Florence gave Albreada more than just an exceptional dining experience. Albreada, her WSU roommate, and their new friends also studying abroad, became close with several of the restaurant employees.

Beyond exploring the city of Florence (she said if she went back today she’d still be able to find her way around perfectly), Albreada enrolled with student-based travel agencies that provided inexpensive weekend trips.

Through this agency, Albreada travelled to the Amalfi Coast, Croatia, Switzerland, and Germany. There she attended Oktoberfest – her favorite study abroad memory.

Getting to know the locals from Florence, as well as her other travel locations was one of the most fascinating parts of her trip. Albreada explained, “It was so interesting learning about the way they [residents} were brought up compared to the way we are brought up in America. We made friends with a lot of the locals and they talked about their experiences growing up, school, and family. It was so cool to see the world in a different way.”

Despite not being able to read the labels in the grocery store the first week, Albreada didn’t have a negative thing to say about her trip. Even the language barrier was hardly a problem. Albreada said most people in Florence spoke English and they loved when tourists tried to speak Italian.

Study abroad students are required to take an Italian course at FUA, which provides information about the city of Florence itself, making it a lot easier for Albreada to communicate and get around.

The most helpful things Albreada did to prepare was read travel blogs and talk to students who had already studied abroad in Florence. They told her where to go and what to bring. “You’ll want to bring your whole life, but you can’t,” she said.

Albreada never felt unsafe in Florence or while traveling, but she did recommend investing in a cross-body purse or another secure way of carrying your belongings while walking around. She also recommended doing research before purchasing an expensive international phone plan from a local carrier, as there are less expensive options available, especially once arriving in Italy.

A big smile crossed Albreada’s face when she delivered her last piece of advice, which was to travel as much as you can and everywhere you can.

“You learn so many more skills and independence through studying abroad and traveling than you would in just a regular semester. I learned how to go with the flow and adapt to new situations and experiences. I’ll forever take away the memories we made and the new people I met. It really did change me. It opened my eyes to so many new ways of doing things.” Said Albreada.

If you would like more information on studying abroad please visit ( or stop by the Office of International Programs in Parenzo 130.

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