I Spent My School Year Living in 3 Different Cities and Not-So-Surprisingly Learned A Lot

Where do you go to college? While usually the answer to that question is as easy as the day I decided to attend Kent State University, this year I felt like I needed to asterisk my response. “Well, I go to school in Ohio but studied abroad in Florence for part of it and also spent a semester interning and going to classes in NYC…” See what I mean? .

It goes without saying Kent, Ohio; Florence, Italy; and New York City are all very different places. Each of the three has their perks (my friends in Ohio, the espresso in Florence, the coffee in NYC…I may have caffeine addiction) and will forever hold special places in my heart. Each one has taught me so many lessons and made me appreciative of different things.

Keep reading for a comparison of these three undeniably different cities.

Florence, Italy

Pros: What could be better than living in Europe?! The winding streets of Florence are enchanting; the slow pace of the city is refreshing; and history can be found in every stone. It really is like a fairytale, and you don’t even want to get me started on the food. Coffee is enjoyed at all times of the day and an espresso costs one Euro instead of the four dollars charged in The States.

Cons: While I hate to complain about such an amazing experience there were a few things about Florence that I can’t help but wish were different. The slow-paced lifestyle that Italians live is relaxing, but not quite my speed. Also, being that far from my family and friends is too much to bare for longer than four months.

 Lessons Learned:

  • How to depend on others
  • Making mistakes is okay
  • Not knowing everything isn’t the end of the world

New York City

Pros: Where do I even start with New York? This city has so much to offer and there is never a shortage of new things to do. I have a new-found appreciation for the downtime I used to take for granted back in Ohio. Nothing compares to the rush of running around the city, passing hundreds of people living their own unique lives while finding a small routine of your own within it all.

Cons: While the flash of New York is exciting, it can easily become overwhelming. Finding a moment to relax seems nearly impossible which can lead to a lot of stress. Also, you’d be lying if you said New York was clean in any sense of the word. Living in New York is a balancing act, but when done correctly, the show is amazing.

 Lessons Learned:

  • How to depend on myself
  • Time management. Time management. Time Management.
  • Connections are key

Kent, Ohio

Pros: Kent is the city where I was first on my own and it’s the city where so many doors were opened for me. I made some of my best friends through late night dorm room conversations, sleep lost on mood boards, and learning “how to adult” one mistake at a time. After having such a hectic year abroad, I have a new-found appreciation for my little life in Kent, Ohio. While it might not be as exciting as New York or Europe, there you are never far from a good coffee shop, a nature filled hike, or a great friend.

Cons: Kent has fun things to offer, but sometimes it can feel too small. With the nearest metropolitan area being an hour away it is easy to feel trapped in the Kent bubble. Also, living on a college campus can’t give you a “real world” feeling experience like living in New York or Europe can.

Lessons Learned:

  • Independence
  • Thankfulness for friends and family
  • Appreciation of the familiar

This summer I’ll be adding another city to my year of transient living: Nashville, Tennessee. Where will this summer be taking you? What lessons are you excited to learn? Let us know in the comments below!