We can tell you when the worst time is!!! This may sound negative but it is not the case at all. Regardless of when you come to Florence, your time together will be invaluable and something that all of you remember and reminisce about, potentially forever. With the luxury of foresight and the flexibility to travel when best suits you, these are our carefully considered insights into the mind of a study abroad student!
1) Spring or Fall Break
It may seem like a good idea in the planning phases of study abroad, to travel together as a family during Spring or Fall Break but here comes the big BUT…Students often make lifelong friends on study abroad and one of the key times that these friendships consolidate is traveling together for 10 days in the middle of the semester.
Tip: What seemed like a good idea at the time, can become a regret later on. Especially when everyone comes back from their ‘Epic Break Trip’.
2) Dropping your child off
Another great idea in theory — dropping your child off and helping them get settled in, in Florence, during their first week. Study Abroad Orientations have become more and more elaborate. Some last days, some last a week, some include excursions, welcome dinners, walking tours — you get the jist! Week 1 is a really important time for a study abroader to work out who their friends are going to be, explore the city, and settle into their apartment with new roommates.
Tip: Travel the week before, you can even include a couple of days in Florence together before housing check-in and orientation.
3) During midterms or finals
This one is easy because it is common sense. Unless of course you vow to be completely independent, visiting Florence on your own while your child studies for finals. There will also be some farewell parties, and long sorrowful goodbyes both to their new friends and the city that has become their home for the past three months.
Tip: It is better to meet up the day that they are required to check out of their housing. While their friends are leaving to go back home, you can start your family holiday.
So what’s left over?? The weeks after Spring or Fall Break are best. Your son or daughter will have had plenty of time to get to know the city. They will have favorite places to go that they want to share with you. They will have made a list of places that they haven’t been yet that they want to take you. And they will also be comfortable and well-established in their weekly class and study routines allowing them to make plenty of time to spend with you.
We have specifically chosen Thanksgiving week for the Fall Semester as our inaugural Parent Week in Florence. Why??? Firstly, we noticed how many parents were in town last year. Secondly, we know that you can maximize your vacation days because so many businesses in the US are closed for Thanksgiving. Thirdly, the crazy tourist season is over, the crowds are dying down and Florence belongs a little bit more to us.
Are you a Spring semester parent? We have something special in store for you too! Check the website for dates!
Have questions? Even if you can’t make it on Parent Week we are happy to help. Use the contact form on www.parentweekflorence.com or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org We look forward to hearing from you.
By Anna McNiel
Author Bio: Australian, honorary Florentine, and some of my friends even like to make fun of me saying that I am now an American! I came to Florence in 2001, fresh off 6 months of world travel and ready to set my bags down for a while. Little did I know that Florence would steal my heart and that I would end up traveling around Europe with thousands of American study abroad students. 18 years later, I am still in love with Florence and creating amazing travel experiences. There is definitely something special about sharing a city like Florence with a first time visitor. Your amazement and enthusiasm reminds me daily about why I chose to make this place my home.