The Midway Slump and Midterms

Anna Bradley
October 18, 2016

Time update: I have been in Siena for 50 days, and there are only 51 days left in the program. So basically, my time here is halfway over, which is mind-boggling, exciting and terrifying all at the same time. I've gotten into a steady routine here, which is much appreciated because it has helped restore a sense of normality, and makes me feel as if I'm actually living in Siena, as opposed to just being a tourist. Monday through Thursday I wake up, go to my 9am, run to get a cappucino during the 5 minute break in bewtween classes, and then go to one of many pizza or pasta options for lunch. About four times a week, my friends and I will go run at the Fortress in a sad attempt to workout. I think that not having easy access to a gym has been one of the hardest adjustments here in Siena. Apparently there is a gym somewhere, I'm not entirely sure where, but before even getting a membership I would have to take an online course on proper workout methods, and pay an obscure amount of money. It was all too much and too confusing, so I gave up on that idea fast. Luckily, running at the Fortress is lovely, easy, and free. The Fortress is a giant, walled structure that surrounds the old part of Siena, and has amazing views of the city and the Tuscan countryside. The Fortress also features some very weird, European free-body weight machines that were fun to use at first, but now we all just enjoy watching 80 year old Italians use them dressed in their button downs and dress pants. In conclusion, it is possible to workout in Siena, but not to the extent that I'm used to at home and at college. 

I also think it's safe to say that most of us here are experiencing what I would like to call "the midway slump," not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Study abroad is still everyday life; some days are amazing, and other days are average, or even below average. And that's okay. As I said earlier, we're been here 50 days, so about 7 weeks, which is a decent chunk of time. Some of us, myself included, are experiencing various degrees of homesickness. I'm really excited to have my family come visit in December, but also don't want the program to end. Others of us are feeling antsy, and a little bit bored with Siena, especially the night life. Once again, all of these feelings are okay. Being abroad is hard. Being in a new place, which is slowly starting to feel old and familiar, is hard. Being with the same thirteen people is incredibly hard, even though we all get along really well. My biggest fear before going abroad was that I wasn't going to like any of my IES Abroad peers, and that it was going to be a lonely 3.5 months. I am happy to say that my fear evaporated as soon as I started to get to know everyone, and realized that I now had people to binge watch The Bachelor in Paradise with 24/7. Even so, I know that we all miss our family and friends from home and school, and are excited to see them in January. 

Midterms also aren't helping anything. Turns out that you actually have to study while being abroad (just kidding, I already knew this, I swear!) Luckily, in nine days we will be done with exams, and will be heading on our various adventures for fall break. My fall break plans include Budapest, Prague, and Barcelona for Halloween! I'll be with 5-7 of my classmates, depending on the location, so it should be a fall break for the books. Till then, I will try to focus more on exams, and less on Gilmore Girls and gelato--two obsessions that my friends here also share with me.  


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Anna Bradley

<p>I am a current junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Italian at Sewanee: The University of the South. I am a proud member of Kappa Delta sorority, and am &nbsp;a coxswain for Sewanee&#39;s crew team. In my free time, I enjoy kayaking, reading, going for runs, and playing with my dogs.</p>

2016 Fall
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