It’s back to Florence for the semester! After quite the extended break of celebrating with my family and friends at home in America, I made my return to Europe for yet another celebration, or should I say two. Along with Whitney, we took a flight out from Boston to meet up with another Fiorentina, Amanda, to spend our New Year’s and my 21st birthday in Paris!!! Arriving on the 30th in the city of love and, of course, the Eiffel Tower, our vacation kicked off with rolling in the New Year just underneath this historical landmark where we three, along with another 15 HC-ers met up together for a true Holy Cross reunion. And even better, just two days later, I was able to spend my birthday walking along the snow-covered streets of Montmartre and sipping “vin chaud” (hot wine) with a view of the entire city at night. It was a vacation to remember, for sure. And now, I’ve returned to my second home — my Florence.
As for the academic life, we didn’t have much time to breathe because the Italian school system, as we’re learning, has many differences from the American universities. Exams take place over a period of two months, offering two “tries” to earn a degree of passing. Obviously, we all opted for the first opportunity to have a break from university before the next semester begins at the end of February. Having two exams in the first semester has proven to be very difficult for me, and I’ve been spending much time studying between lessons with my tutors as well as having our normal lessons at our language school, Dante Alighieri. However, do not be afraid — it is a doable thing. Going into it knowing what you are up against is my best advice for everyone. Matt and I took Geografia, a two-part class dealing with the relationship between the population and the environment, and branching out into a basic economic understanding of the market and general world economy up until this period of time. With this type of course, it requires two exams —a n oral and a written exam. Once that one is finished, it will be just two more to go, and I can say hello to the official start of a new semester. It’s a strange feeling being here and watching all the new students arriving, frantically carrying around their maps and struggling with their Italian. I look at them, and I feel the smile on my face, remembering how that was once me. And now, I’m ready to enjoy myself and take my language level to the top. But before I get carried away with myself, keep your fingers crossed for me for my exams!