Essentially, Siena is everything I could have imagined and at the very same time unimaginable.
Let me explain.
It is so beautiful here. So unbelievably beautiful that myself and two other students discussed how it feels like it
could be a Disney replica of itself. All the roads in town are as small and twisty and quaint as you think they are.
Seeing them for yourself is when Siena becomes unimaginably beautiful. Because as much as you can look up photos and imagine yourself walking down Sienese streets, you cannot fully comprehend the beauty of this place until you’re here.
While breathtakingly beautiful, it is important to note that those nice twisty streets are difficult to navigate. During orientation, we went on a walking tour. On the walking tour, you’re supposed to be paying attention to the important places. Here is the supermarket, here is the library, here is the IES Abroad Center.
I thought I was paying attention, I really did, but I was, apparently, wrong. The next morning I was trying to make my way to the IES Abroad Center and ended up taking out my contact card for the Center, pointing at the address, and asking people to point me in the right direction.
Don’t worry, I got there eventually.
Because we’ve only started our language classes, this weekend was a good one for traveling. I went to
Arezzo, which is about an hour away by bus, with two of my new friends in the program, Jessie and Mallory.
Jessie previously studied abroad in Arezzo, which meant we had an unofficial guide and some new Italian friends to meet. We met up with Jessie’s old friends Leo and Davide and basically just walked around Arezzo for hours having an amazing time.
Jessie is fluent in Italian, Leo is fluent in English, so between the five of us, we were cracking jokes and talking to the point where I could barely feel a language barrier. Most of the time we could get our own points across and, if not, there was someone there to help.
We didn’t have an itinerary, but I think that was the better way to enjoy Arezzo because it was more relaxed. We walked around parks and got gelato. Arezzo is a much more open city than I’m used to with Siena. Because I live in the historic district, all the streets in Siena
are small and I don’t get to see open, green spaces that often, so Arezzo was a fantastic day trip.
It was perfect for someone like me, who is still getting used to the idea that I am actually here, in Italy. I’m getting used to the language, the culture, the atmosphere. Everything is different and new in exciting ways and I’m just enjoying the experience right now.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi! I'm Taylor and I major in English and minor in History at the University of Richmond. I am a novice traveler at best, and have never been anywhere a car couldn't take me, so I am incredibly excited to be studying in Siena, Italy for the next academic year. In addition to my major and minor, I also am incredibly passionate about music, voice and piano being my preferred instruments, and can't wait to see what musical outlets I find in Siena. I can't believe I'm spending an entire year in a city I know I'm going to fall absolutely in love with and I can't wait to share my perspective of Siena with you!</span></p>