Italian adventures thus far…

 I should start by deeply apologizing for not writing sooner. I have so much to say about Italy and about Siena that I don’t know where to begin. I will try to stick to the basics to give myself a little guidance in enthusiastically describing Italy so far:

1. Arrival in Italy

 2. Orientation

3. Travels outside of Siena

GOODBYE AMERICA, HELLO ITALY

The journey to Siena started on Janaury 19th in the Charlotte Douglas Airport. I was very excited, but mainly nervous (I was leaving home for a semester…what was I doing?!) Thankfully, however, I had some Wofford comfort to travel with. Natalie Clark and Grace DeMarco are studying in Siena as well, so we arranged to make the trek across the Atlantic together.

First view of Italy (well, clouds in Italy)!

Once we were in Siena, we were introduced to our Italian roommates and shown to our apartments. My roommates name is Sam (she’s cool), our Italian roommate is named Giusi (she’s cool too…say her name like “Juicy”…makes her even cooler, right?) Our apartment is a very short walk to the Piazza del Campo, the historical center of the city.

This was my first picture of Piazza del Campo so I’m pretty sure I will always be a little attached to this particular snapshot!

ORIENTATION

The best part about first arriving in Italy was that we had orientation for two weeks with IES…I was comforted knowing that I would have ample time getting acquainted with my new Italian life. Highlights of orientation were visiting a the museum of a contrada in Italy, and being whisked away to a wine tasting in Tuscany!

A contrada is like a neighborhood in Siena. If you have heard anything about Siena, it is probably about the Palio, a horserace dating back to medieval times, where 10 horses compete in a 90 second race around the Piazza del Campo. There are 17 contradas in Siena (think neighborhood, but on steroids…a person is baptized into a contrada and is part of that contrada for the rest of their life). Each contrada has an immense amount of pride, and we learned it is a very, very emotional if your contrada wins the Palio.

Where l’Istrice (or “Crested Porcupine”) contrada holds their official meetings. Each contrada has a ruling body who makes decisions for the contrada.

 Wine Tasting:

I think it is safe to say that everyone’s favorite part of orientation was an authentic Tuscan wine tasting at Il Ciliegio vineyard. We were given a tour of the facility and taught how the wines were made…and best of all…allowed to try several different wines.

Our wonderful guide who made the experience even better. She may have told us she ate an acorn once just because “it felt right in the moment,” if that any indication of how fun she was!

AND WE’RE OFF…AGAIN

It didn’t take long for a group of girls from our program to take a day trip to Florence, and a weekend trip to Rome. We stayed in Siena for a weekend, and that was great to pause and reflect on the wonderful city that we were living in, but the travel bug has definitely bitten us all. We want to explore all we can of what Italy has to offer over the next semester (and of course, outside of Italy as well).

Il Duomo in Florence.

Natalie, Grace, Sam, Nahoma, and Monique.
Wonderful group who have become my traveling buddies.

Colloseum in Rome.

Arch of Constantine

Roommate picture in the center of the Vatican Museum, with a beautiful view of the dome from St. Peter’s Basilica in the background.

 

Trevi Fountain. Absolute new favorite place in the world!

 

There is so much more that I could talk about while I’ve been in Italy, but I feel this is a good summary of everything so far. Be on the lookout for updates on food, school, life in Siena, etc.

Can’t wait to tell you more!

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FAQ

In four days I will say goodbye to the USA and Ciao to Italy. To start this blog and to get us all on the same page, I thought I would answer some of the most frequently asked questions I receive about my study abroad decision:

1. Why Italy? In all honesty, it’s because I had a teacher in middle school who was Italian. She taught us an Italian word a day, started an Italian club, and introduced me to Nutella. Needless to say, I have been sold ever since then.

2. Where in Italy? Siena…it’s near Florence, and is part of the Tuscan area of Italy.

4. Do you know Italian? No. However, I’ve downloaded an App (which has been fairly helpful, but I am going to need a little more help).

5. What are you studying? I am an English and Sociology major. In Italy, I am planning to take a Literature course, Sociology course, Italian language course, Art History course, and an internship (fingers crossed).

6. Why do you want to leave Wofford and go abroad? Couldn’t you just stay here? First of all, I do love Wofford and am going to miss everyone and everything here. I want to go abroad because this is an amazing and unique opportunity. In Italy, I am prepared to learn more about myself, and to learn about a new culture. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is I am about to experience, but I am ready for whatever it is!

And the MOST frequent question…

7. So you are going to eat lots of pasta and marry an Italian, right? Yes and no. I am hoping to indulge in all foods Italiano (pasta, cheese, gelato, caffè, espresso…YUM). I’ll keep you posted on the Italian husband.

Overall, I am excited for this next semester. However, I am currently very anxious and ready to be in Siena and breathing Italian air. Through this blog I will keep you updated on all my adventures in Tuscany and all my travels throughout Europe that are about to occur. I can’t wait.

Until then…Arrivederci!

 

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