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On Exchange in Florence

Buildings in Florence, Italy

When planning to study law in Florence, a lot of questions came to mind. Would I get any study done? Is gelato a breakfast food? Is there such thing as too much pesto? Has Melbourne rendered me a coffee snob?

The overseas study program was a great opportunity to pursue fields of law that had more of an international focus. I had the pleasure of studying under the guidance of world-leading experts in Private International Law and International Commercial Arbitration. The lecturers were civil law trained, offering unique insight into legal practice and the respective judiciaries of their home countries. I was humbled by their enthusiasm and passion for the law, and consequently class tardiness was not an issue – even with the rolling Tuscan hills beckoning us to skip class.

Studying abroad is carefree. Gone is the anxiety normally generated by assessments back home. You’re in a foreign country and writing an essay on the balcony with a glass of local vino in hand… although I actually think I spent more time researching weekends away than studying – there is so much to do in and around the Tuscan region!

Some of my favourite experiences included: enjoying a bowl of ragu in Bologna or a plate of pesto pasta in Genova, a lazy hike along the Cinque Terre, basking in the serenity of quaint Portofino, an afternoon appreciating the vastness of Lake Como, people watching in Milano and watching the sun set over Firenze with friends.

The only culture shock one might experience living Italy is the afternoon siesta. During these hours, part of Florence resembles a ghost town. More importantly, this might mean that your favourite pizza shop is closed when you really, really want it. Solution? Pizza for morning tea and afternoon tea! Language-wise, most locals knew English and it was relatively easy to get by, but it was nice making the occasional order in Italian and seeing the gratitude on a shop attendant’s face for making the effort.

Overall, the whole experience of studying abroad was invaluable. From the new friendships forged to the unique subjects on offer, it was worth every Euro spent!

If you have the chance to do part of your law degree overseas, no matter where it is, seize it! If you like the idea of eating fresh bread for breakfast, pizza for lunch (when you can find it), pasta for dinner and gelato in between meals, then do your exchange in Italy. It’s worth every bite!

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