Overseas Blog: Maddie Gaffney and Sydney Squires
Feb. 8, 2018

Donate to the Gophers Trip to Italy

With the University of Minnesota just about a month away from their trip to Italy, the Gophers already have two players who are in Europe. Maddie Gaffney and Sydney Squires check in with their monthly blog about their semester in Europe.

Gaffney and Squires both are coming off their final season of eligibility in 2017. Gaffney finished the season with one goal and two assists while Squires finished with 14 goals and three assists for the Gophers. Read their experiences through their eyes: 

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Ciao amici! (Hello friends!)

About a month ago we embarked on a journey of a lifetime to study abroad in Florence, Italy, for our last semester of college. When we arrived here in Florence we were filled with a mix of emotions. We were happy, sad, anxious, but most importantly, we were excited. It took a few days for us to get used to all the new things we were now encountering. New faces, new apartment, new roommates, new streets, new language, new everything! It was safe to say that we weren't in Minnesota anymore with our friends and family.

After the first week had passed we began to acclimate ourselves within our new environment. We didn't need to use maps as much anymore to get around, and we began to pick up on little cultural cues a little bit more, like not looking at strangers passing by and friendly smiling at them, to help us blend in with the people of Florence. Classes had started which helped us meet new people and allowed us to be able to get back to onto a more regular schedule like we had been used to these past three and a half years with soccer. Things were looking up, and we were getting extremely excited to finally start traveling!


After our first week of school, we traveled on an overnight bus to spend the weekend in Interlaken, Switzerland. After getting a quick nap in after we arrived, we decided to hit the Swiss Alps and attempt to ski. Let's just say the easiest run on the Alps would probably classify as a black diamond back in there at Afton Alps, so as you can assume, we stuck to the easiest run. Sydney crushed it, while Maddie fell down multiple times in random people's backyards. After a rough, but fun (and scary) day on the slopes, we decided to treat ourselves to some cheese fondue and some tasty Mac' and Cheese. The next day we traveled to the city of Berne for a few hours, then had some of the worlds best hot chocolate, made out of real chocolate when we went back to Interlaken. The last morning we spent in Interlaken we walked to a beautiful lake, which was probably one of the prettiest sights that we had seen yet.



After a quick week of classes, our next destination was Athens, Greece. You all should already know that our first stop after we arrived was to get some gyros, and wow, were they good! Our next day involved a walking tour, which was extremely informational about Athens currently, as well as, historically. We walked through gardens, witnessed the guard change at the White House, and saw the stadium where the first ever Olympics were held. The rest of the trip involved getting in tune with Greece's ancient history as we visited the Acropolis Museum, Parthenon, and Acropolis. We made sure to get some Greek yogurt and Frozen Greek yogurt, as well as (one treat that wasn't great), and street gyros. If you ever plan on visiting here, you won't be disappointed with the food.

Our next destination after our third week of class was to Paris, France. This was a trip that involved a lot of sweets, like crepes, croissants, hot chocolate, and crème brulee, all while learning a little history about Paris and mastering the Metro. The buildings in Paris were absolutely gorgeous, especially on the inside. We walked through and up Notre Dame, through the Palace of Versailles and the Versailles Gardens, the Louvre, and around the Eiffel tower. Although the weather was a little cold and rainy, we spent most of our time going through all the different museums!

After three weeks of class and three weekends of traveling, we are planning on spending the weekend around Italy, and we could not be happier. We find ourselves missing Florence at the end of our travel weekends, and love returning home. Yes, HOME. Florence now feels like home. We cannot wait to see what the next couple of months have in store for us, and to explore more of Italy with the team!

Arrivederci, (Goodbye) and we hope you are enjoying the cold weather!

Sydney and Maddie

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Make sure you follow the Gophers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you do not miss any content as the team prepares to head to Italy in March.

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