Maddie Tucker: Fresh Start in Florence

Upon deciding to take this trip, I had just undergone many big changes in my life. I had just completed my first year of nursing school and I was in love with the work I was doing, no matter how difficult it was. I love helping people and trying to understand their hurts, both physical and emotional. Going on this trip really helped my cultural awareness in a way that I know will help my nursing practice. My mind was opened to a different communication style, new lifestyle, and health management.

The people were quite different from those in America. There was a collective sense of being in Florence. The people were more openly kind and helpful to one another. I hope to bring this sense of community into my nursing practice with not only my patients, but also my co-workers.

Another huge part of the trip that affected me was the nature. We hiked in Cinque Terre, on the Mediterranean and the views were incredible. I pushed my body past limits I thought I had. We hiked for 7-8 hours each day through stunning vineyards and mountains overlooking the beautiful blue water. I couldn’t help but absorb the pure, raw beauty. It was so perfect and untouched by luxury. The buildings were colorful, simple and without too much flare. They were so old and the residents had been there for years and years with their families. It was a small village, everyone-is-friends mentality.

The next big hiking endeavor was in Bolzano, in the Alps. The mountains were stunning, like giants looming over the picture-perfect Alpine meadows. There were beautiful wildflowers of orange, purple, pink, blue, and yellow. They danced in the soft breeze and I couldn’t help but run through the field with the new best friends I made on the trip.

I highly suggest exposing oneself to the beauty of Italy. I love that we not only got to experience historic, artistic Florence, but we also got to explore many other Tuscan hill-towns via train. The small towns had stunning cathedrals and history and small shops, whose shopkeepers were captivating in their knowledge of Italy. The churches were moving both in their immense size and in the spiritual wholesomeness they exuded. Upon entering the churches, one could feel the history and the reason so many people clung to their faith a long time ago. The statues, murals, and altarpieces were so detailed and intricate.

This trip was full of history, art, architecture, cultural comparisons, and natural beauty. Nothing was overly modernized with technology the way things are in America. If you have the opportunity to expand your mind and cultural awareness, take it. Too many people never get the chance to see what is out there. More people need to in order to be more compassionate and open-minded in today’s ever-changing world.

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