We are now three weeks into the first cycle of the semester (here, depending on the department, a course may or may not be broken into two cycles – the first cycle taking a broad approach to the content and the second more specific – and students can choose whether they want to take both cycles for full credit or only the first for half – completely different than what we’re used to at Holy Cross!) and are finally beginning to get acclimated to taking classes in Italian. Although we still sometimes struggle to keep up in class, we definitely understand more than those first (stressful) days. In addition, about a week and a half ago we had our first meetings with our tutors (of which we have one for each class) and they have proven to be incredibly helpful. In one one-hour session, they are able to sum up the past week of lessons in a way that is easy for us to understand.
Travel-wise, the past few weeks have been quite interesting. The first weekend of the month, Katie and Whitney from Florence came up for a night and we all had a great time showing them around Bologna. The following Saturday, Kristen, Ryan, and I went to Venice and had a blast. Having never been, I was afraid that Venice would just be another crowded city full of tourists and although this was true I could not have loved it more. Piazza San Marco was unbelievable; imagine your typical Italian piazza complete with massive basilica, palaces, and cafés but with a water view – there really is no other place like it. Venice also has some pretty amazing pastries (appropriately shaped like gondolas), so naturally we had no choice but to indulge. Most of all, we enjoyed getting lost in the city and walking along the canals.
This past weekend, a group of us ventured up to Lombardy and spent Friday night in Milan. Despite the fact that the better part of the evening was devoted to finding lodging after our hostel canceled on us at the last minute, we still managed to have a good time. The next day we saw the city’s gothic duomo and shopped a little before catching a train to Lake Como where we slept and took in the mountain air. It is absolutely beautiful there and I hope to return in the spring.