Being that most people who study abroad are juniors in college, many of them haven’t hit the much-coveted 21-year mark yet and feel the need to milk the bars in Europe for all they’re worth, blowing their money on beers before they are shipped back to the States and they have to go back to overcrowded frat parties and badly mixed drinks for a few more solid months.
Since I’m already 21, I don’t fit into this category (anymore). Don’t get me wrong, when I was 20 I would have killed (literally, actually killed people) to be at the bar with all my friends, where I heard, from my good 21-year-old friend Jesse, that “everything you could ever want is there, from rainbows and unicorns to all the best loot you can imagine.”
However, I’m grateful to have already been 21 for a good while before coming here, because I feel absolutely no impulse to blow all my money (and time) on getting drunk. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for going out and having a good time… on the weekends. When I have nothing else of value to do. But when it’s Wednesday and I have class at 9:00 am the next day with my crazy Italian professor, then no, I don’t really feel like going to the bar with you. Sorry.
I totally understand that people come abroad for different reasons. Some people come to solely travel, like myself. Some come to live; to learn the culture and go out to eat and study Italian. Some come to shop and come home with a coveted new Italian wardrobe. And others come to party. This is okay.
But before you choose to spend yet another five euros at the bar (for the first twenty minutes…) think about this- all that spent money on shitty drinks on Monday nights could have gone towards your trip to Switzerland, a beautiful steak dinner with your new Italian friends, or a pair of fancy Italian leather boots bargained for at the San Lorenzo market. Your memories of Florence don’t have to be a haze for you to know that you had a good time. A balance exists, you just have to find it within the piles of pasta and gelato.
Everything I drank for this night I did so in the comfort and cheapness of my own apartment. WIN.