What I miss most about UNC while I’m studying abroad

Don’t worry, we still get Alert Carolina texts about tornadoes

The UNC gang is holding strong here in Florence, but we miss our real home. We can hang with each other everyday to fill that void of Carolina pride, but it’s just not the same.

We miss a lot of things, but there are a few worth mentioning: Cinna Stix from Toppers, being in classes large enough where falling asleep isn’t the worst thing, seeing the Old Well everyday, the peace and quiet of eighth floor Davis, tripping on bricks (tripping on cobblestones isn’t that fun) and having a free gym and tech support.

Ciao from Florence!

Ciao from Florence!

The people

Ok, this is kind of an obvious one, but it still needs to be noted. The people at Carolina are what makes the school so amazing. Us Tar heels turned Florentines miss our friends back at school and FaceTiming is just not cutting it.

Being at games

I cannot tell you how hard it is to watch a college basketball game from outside the country. When the Duke game came on (tears), the UNC crew was determined to find a way to stream it. After many failed attempts and losing people to the battle with sleep (seeing as the game was on at 3am our time), we were forced to follow texts from our friends and Facebook statuses made by our outspoken cousins.


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I did not think it was possible to miss a bagel, but sure enough, that time has come. The warm egg and cheese, the friendly staff and we can’t forget about that coffee. Espresso seems to be the caffeinated drink of choice here in Italy, and coffee now seems a distant memory – unless you go to the American themed cafe down the street, but it lacks the same charm and endless refills.


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And all things Bottom. While on the subject of food, I think it’s worth mentioning my longing for a good chicken salad, which sadly does not exist in Italy. Or Chick-fil-A for that matter. I know, the horror.

Having a community

Yes, all the UNC people have joined together while here, but it’s not the same as being in class with all Tar heels or walking around and only seeing people from your school. We can all agree we miss the familiarity of everything and also being in a place where wearing UNC sweatpants, a UNC shirt and a UNC hat is considered perfectly acceptable.

Knowing your way around

A new city, a new school and a new country – it really adds up. I think it’s safe to say we miss the days when we knew exactly how to get from one class to the next without a map. Or when we didn’t have to stop and ask three or four people along the way. Or trying to find our new favorite restaurant just based off of what famous monument it is closest to.

Sitting in the quad

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Let’s say it’s a beautiful day here in Florence and all I want to do is lay out in the sun without the threat of strangers questioning whether I am on drugs or dead. Sadly, this is not a possibility, because we now have an urban campus and the closest green space is a bush outside a store front.

Running into people

At school, there is the infinite possibility of running into friends while changing classes and heading to lunch, but the odds have dwindled now that there are only 26 of us. We all see each other no matter what, so there is no possibility of us running into other people while out or grabbing lunch.

Being in the same time zone as everyone else

For a good example, see the basketball game mentioned above. Being six hours ahead of everyone back in Chapel Hill creates a slight barrier to communication and social media. While everyone back at UNC starts getting into the day by posting things around noon, it is already 6pm here.

The only things we get to see during the morning and afternoon are the blurry Instagrams posted at 4am and the numerous Snapchats of late night shenanigans. We can try to FaceTime you at 8pm your time and 2am ours, but we might not make it till then.

The chime of the Bell Tower

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Because how else am I supposed to know what time it is?

Sup Dogs and Time Out

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Help. What am I supposed to eat at 3am?

Studying abroad has been an amazing experience so far, so who are we to really complain? It will just make coming back to UNC that much more special.

And don’t worry, we still get every Alert Carolina text, so we never miss if there’s a thunderstorm or tornado.