Almost Time to Go: Year Abroad Adventure in Palermo


From incredible memories to homesickness woes, our 'Year Abroad Diaries' series details the exciting adventures of two third year students, Abbie Jessop and Ffion Williams, as they embark on a year of study in Boston and of work in Italy and France respectively. In the first installment, Ffion discusses her anxieties and anticipations leading up to her departure.

As a Modern Languages student, I have always known that the time would come for me to leave Bristol for a year and embark on my Year Abroad. Although I have had years to look forward to it and speculate the kind of things I’d be getting up to, now that it is just around the corner it suddenly all feels a lot more real. In less than a week I’ll be starting my life in Palermo, Sicily.

For six months, I’ll have a full time job in the historic Palazzo Tomasi di Lampedusa as an assistant to the manager. I’ll be helping with the running of the Palazzo and will assist in the cooking classes which are held there. I’ll also be speaking Italian the majority of the time; to say I’m excited would be an understatement, but I can’t help feeling slightly nervous.

Flickr/ andrew_suzanne

Despite the nerves, I’m really looking forward to being completely immersed in a new culture. Having never set foot in Sicily, I must admit that I am slightly daunted by the accent, which I’m told is tricky to get to grips with. However, excitement is the dominant emotion as I cannot wait to explore a new city and start a new job with a new group of people.

Having secured the internship back in November 2017, August 2018 seemed a lifetime away, yet here I am packing my bags and getting ready to move to a beautiful new home. I have been exchanging the occasional email with Nicoletta, my new boss, ever since, and she has been helpful in every sense of the word. She’s even preparing dinner for me the evening I arrive! Her kindness has really eased any stress I had surrounding this new chapter of my life.

As part of my placement, I am able to live in an apartment in the Palazzo, and this has significantly lessened any worries I had about having to find accommodation (I have all that to come when I move to Paris!). I can’t wait to settle in, unpack my cases and make the place feel like home.

Although I am extremely positive about my Year Abroad, I can’t deny that I am finding it very difficult to say goodbye to my friends and loved ones for a whole year. I am a real homebody, and even when in Bristol I find myself visiting my family home in South Wales at least once a month, so I know I’m really going to struggle with seeing my family less frequently.

The same goes for my friends, as I have lived with them for the past two years and they feel like my family too. Fortunately, both my family and friends already have their flights booked to Palermo, so I won’t have to wait too long to see them! My boyfriend is also setting off on his Year Abroad, and will be in Italy at the same time as me, so we’re going to visit each other as much as we possibly can.

I have spent this summer making wonderful memories with all the people I love most (I’ve tried to cram in as many holidays/ sleepovers/ festivals/ trips as humanly possible), and it is almost time to do the same in Sicily!

Featured Image: Fickr / santiagolopezpastor

Embarking on a year abroad yourself and want to share your experiences? Get in touch!

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