Diventare Forte - Finishing Strong

Bo Shimmin
April 26, 2018

15 more days left of this dream semester. I am at a loss for words honestly. I am actually kind sad sitting down to write this, but enthusiastic and sure of the fact that I will return here one day to live and work. I can't imagine my future without Italy in it. Here are just a few reasons why Milano has become my home:

1) I am literally not joking when I tell you that I think the food here has healing powers. There is something so special about the food culture here. Gelato can cure all worries. Pasta comes in an infinite amount of ways. Pizza is love, Pizza is life. There is nothing better than an espresso shot to start your day. Most of my favorite memories here somehow evolve around sharing a meal with friends or getting to try new cuisine in the different regions of Italy. Milano has every single food you can think of. There is even an American snack store near the duomo in case you are craving something from home. I will miss panzerotti from Luini's. Spontini has some of the best pizza. Gelateria della Musica is absolutely my favorite gelato shop. The little bars inside the metro station are a life saver if you're running to class and need a quick pick me up.

2) The people. I will miss the friends that I have made here and look forward to seeing where we all go in the future. It's incredible that this experience brought us together and the greatest thing to me is that these people will always be there when I need them. One of my best friends is actually a community assistant for IES Abroad and her name is Serena. We've spent almost every Thursday of the semester going to the jazz school to participate in a choir. The director, Giorgio has been so kind and welcoming and even gave me two solos in two South African pieces we were doing. Even though there was a small language barrier, all my fellow singers always made it a priority to include me in on conversations. I made 20 Italian friends by taking initiative and asking to join a choir here in Milano early in the semester and I am so proud of myself for doing that. Recently the choir got to open for a benefit concert for over 900 people at the Mahler auditorium here in Milano. It was one of the best nights of my life. Just like I've built a new family at my home university, I can say that I've done that here. I look forward to staying in touch with Giorgio, Serena and my fellow singers for the rest of my life. These are my people!!!

3) The art. As I said in the post earlier, I went to see the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci yesterday. It boggles my mind that I stood in the same place as the master artists. I had a class at an art museum last week and to finish off this week, we are visiting Leonardo's Museum of Science. If you are thinking about studying in Milano, please take Cracking the Code course with Sylvia Regonelli. I have learned more in this class than any other class while I've been here. It's an art history course that is absolutely worth taking because you get to go to several historical places in Milan and trace the steps of Leonardo during his life in Milano. Also, there is a beautiful art gallery in the Brera neighborhood called Pinacoteca di Brera that I would recommend visiting if you are ever in Milano.

4) The music. My voice teacher, Patrizia Zanardi, honestly has become like a mom to me during this semester. I will miss our lessons and her encouraging and kind teaching. I've always felt challenged to come to the next lesson and show her the progress I've made. Today was actually my last lesson and it couldn't have went better. I want to also give a huge shout out to the accompanist Angela for dealing with me bringing in new pieces every week. I'm sure it drove her crazy, but she always came in with a smile which in turn made the lesson even better. She gave me a word the first lesson and wanted me to think about it throughout the semester: Respirare. To breathe. So much of singing is breathing and that also just translates so well to my life during this semester. It's so easy to get flustered, but when I did, I just had to remind myself to breathe and think about where I was. I mean I literally got to sing Italian opera and art song with an Italian opera singer. What more could I want?

15 days left... I can do this. If I could get through this semester, I can do literally anything. From the initial culture shock to the language barrier, I have somehow managed to make a life here in this crazy city. DIVENTARE FORTE. It's the motto for the next 15 days.

Bo Shimmin

I am a Junior Vocal Performance major with an interest in history, romance languages and the art of recitals and opera. My hobbies include practicing new music, listening to operas, playing volleyball and hanging out and cooking with my friends. I love travelling and exploring new places, especially art museums. I am fond of history and music, and the way they intertwine is fascinating to me.

2018 Spring
Home University:
DePauw University
Tuscon, Arizona
Music Performance
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