Accent Community College Scholarship: The Beauty of Florence

This week, Accent Community College Scholarship recipient, Valeria Orellana Canales, who is just starting her study abroad adventure, talks about the captivating beauty of Florence.

Ciao! As I start my third week in Florence, Italy, I cannot express how much happiness these last few weeks have brought into my life. Florence has surpassed every expectation I had, and the Accent staff have really made my time abroad so much easier. I am truly lucky to be able to see the beauty of the city in every little corner and in every street. The amount of history that every building contains is unbelievable. Every morning, my classmates and I walk by the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore to go to class, and its captivating beauty is something I admire more and more every time I walk by it. The Cathedral has become our point of reference as we walk through the Florentine streets: all we need is to take a peek and find the Cathedral’s dome or the Giotto’s bell tower, the tallest building and the city’s most famous landmark, and we are all set to find our way home or to keep exploring the city.

My favorite part of my daily routine is crossing the Arno River on one of its many bridges (often taking the most famous and everyone’s favorite: Ponte Vecchio). Before coming to Florence, I never imagined I would be walking past such beautiful scenery every morning to go to class. It is definitely something worth taking a minute to contemplate and share with my family via text message every day. Taking photos of everything that appears in front of me has become my favorite hobby.

As a first-generation college student who is away from my family for the first time, I thought I would feel overwhelmed and a little sad living abroad, but the never-ending, striking views always brighten my day and bring so much excitement and hunger for adventure, that it eases my time away from my family. I am very lucky to be here and to be surrounded by such wonderful people. Every day, I try to practice my Italian with locals at restaurants or supermarkets, and it has been very rewarding, as I have already established a connection with them, and they always make me feel welcomed and part of the community.

The amount of joy I’ve had in such a short time is unimaginable, and I can’t wait to see what the next couple of months have to offer!

~ Valeria Orellana Canales, Santa Barbara City College

Accent is proud to support the Community College Scholarship as part of our commitment pledge to IIE Generation Study Abroad, a nationwide effort to help more U.S. students gain international experience through study abroad programs.

Studying abroad is an amazing way to expand your horizons and experience growth. Explore your options with Accent to take your first step into a new and exciting journey!