10 Life Skills You Will Learn While Studying Abroad

Florence, Italy Provides the Perfect Backdrop to Grow While Completing Your Bachelor’s Degree

Marist’s Florence, Italy four-year study abroad program provides students with a unique platform to grow as adults through new experiences. Florence students spend their days surrounded by classic museums, sporting events, historic culture, and world-renowned cuisine. Through both their coursework and these cultural experiences, Marist Italy students gain life skills that will shape and guide them for years beyond graduation. Here are 10 life skills you will learn while studying abroad with Marist’s Florence, Italy program.

1. Independence

When a student decides to pursue a degree through Marist’s four-year study abroad Bachelor’s program, they take their first steps to independence. Upon arrival in Florence, students will complete an orientation process that will prepare students for Florentine living. Students will visit the Mercato Centrale and learn market-purchasing tips from our faculty. With the help of our Lorenzo De Medici faculty, students will be given the tools to grow into independent and self-reliant adults. 

2. Creative Problem Solving

Beyond the language barriers and culture shock, students may be surprised to find how challenging everyday life can be when they first move abroad. When something as simple as missing a train can derail your day, it’s important for students to cultivate their creative problem solving skills. In these instances, where you can’t just ask for help, students are forced to plan and solve issues traditional students simply don’t encounter. Students who study abroad learn to be quick on their feet and resourceful; two skills that are always in fashion.

3. Flexibility

Most students studying abroad have never been a foreigner in a strange country. For these students, this may be the first time they exit their comfort zone. For example, it is rare for apartments to be equipped with clothes dryers, as Italians usually let their clothes air dry. While this is a minor change from typical American amenities, flexibility and adaptability is of the upmost importance. Students will need to be flexible and open to changing their norm. This flexibility will give students a better understanding of themselves and teach them how to compromise, prioritize, and adapt.

4. “Dolce Far Niente”

Italian culture provides a new perspective for American students. Dolce far niente, translating directly to “the sweetness of doing,” is a quintessential Italian concept. Marist Florence students are presented with the opportunity to step away from the hustle and bustle of American life and focus on enjoying life’s small joys such as an espresso at an outdoor café, or a leisurely walk around Florence. Focusing on immersing themselves in the Italian way of life, students will learn to take a step back and enjoy their abroad experience.

5. Patience

New experiences, new surroundings, a new language; with so much new it’s no wonder it takes students a minute or two to pick up on things. Still, students may find themselves frustrated with their inability to communicate or navigate the city. As an American abroad, students will learn patience, both in themselves and others. This skill is essential for everyone, especially for those who plan on being leaders within their chosen professions.  

6. Be a Leader

Speaking of leaders, Marist’s Florence program provides students with a wide range of student-run organizations in which to participate. These clubs, including photography, cinema, and dance, give students the chance to explore their interests and influence these popular clubs. 

7. Meet New People, Make New Friends

As you may have guessed, studying abroad opens you up to a world of new people from different backgrounds. When your time in Florence ends, your circle of friends will most likely include students from other colleges, as well as native Italians and Florentines. This exposure to new ideas, customs, and cultures is something that simply cannot be replicated anywhere else. Not only will this open your mind to new perspectives, it will also increase your global network of contacts and friends. 

8. Experience a New Culture

Florentine culture is unique in its own right. Focused on Tuscan-style cuisine and Renaissance art, the long and illustrious history of Florentine (rumored to date back to 59 AD by Julius Caesar) can be seen throughout the city. Students in Marist’s Florence program will be able to experience many unique Italian customs, including aperitivo, an Italian happy hour, and Carnevale in nearby Viareggio, the country’s most extravagant Mardi Gras Carnevale.

9. Cultivate Your Italian Language Skills

As a student in the Marist Florence program, you will cultivate your Italian language skills though the required Italian courses. With a mix of instructional learning and real life application, students will be able to grow their knowledge of the Italian language and work toward proficiency. Not only will you graduate with a great experience, you may also end up becoming bilingual.

10. Be Spontaneous!

Spontaneity is an easy skill to learn while studying abroad. With so much to see and explore, so many foods to try and people to meet, it’s easy to spend months in Florence without ever experiencing the same thing twice. Take this time to develop your sense of spontaneity. Climb the Duomo after class, hop a train to a nearby country, take a walk to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a view of the city. Opening yourself up to the spontaneous will set you up for a lifetime of memorable experiences.


If you’re ready to begin growing into a person with these ten skills, contact us to learn more about earning your bachelor's degree while studying abroad in Florence, Italy with Marist-LdM.