Study Abroad Week 2 - Milan Design Week & Trip to Positano

Victoria Pembroke
November 8, 2021

Week 2 is officially in the books! (Or, blogs, should I say?) For any newcomers, I’m posting weekly updates on what I did while studying abroad each day and any new self-discoveries/reflection points I may have. So… here’s the run-down on my second week abroad:

Tuesday, 9/7/21: Yesterday marked the start of design week in Milan! So, naturally, after my 2.5 hour Italian intensive class, I walked around the Milan design district by myself to visit all of the cool and unique exhibits that were going on! Bonus: they were all free!! Some of my favorite exhibits included the Ferrari one as well as this really cool 3-D printing exhibit! Afterwards, I did some shopping around the Duomo and was able to bring a few clothing items and groceries back home with me before heading to bed!

Wednesday, 9/8/21: Today was a very chill, relaxing day. I went to class, then spent the rest of the afternoon lounging around my room and watching some TV. Later, I took a walk to try to return some things I ordered off amazon that weren’t as expected, but what I thought was a DHL drop-off point turned out to… not be? So that part of the day was unsuccessful. I ate dinner at Collegio with some friends and spent the rest of the night just spending some down time in my room before bed.

Thursday, 9/9/21: Today was another chill day, but a pretty fun night. After class, I lounged around my room for a bit and had dinner at the Collegio with friends. Later at night, however, I went out with some friends to Navigli (nightlife area of Milan) where we went to this place that had huge beer towers! So about eight of us shared a cannon-shaped beer tower and it was really fun! Then, I headed towards Milano Centrale station to meet some friends from my home university that are currently studying abroad in Rome but were visiting Milan for the weekend for the Formula 1 race. I met them at the station then took them back to Navigli where we shared a few drinks before I eventually went home and to bed!

Friday, 9/10/21: Today started off as a very exciting day because I was headed for… wait for it… Positano!! I packed all up the night before so I brought my bag directly to Italian class since I was leaving for the train station right afterwards. This was my first long-haul train ride, and luckily it went pretty smoothly, although I did have a 50 minute layover in Naples as well as a quick, 10-minute one in Salerno, which proved to be a very confusing train station, actually. It turned out to be a longgg day of traveling and after all our trains and a final taxi, my friends and I didn’t get into Positano until about 11pm. Even then, we ended up having to climb A LOT of stairs to get to our VRBO which felt like it was at the very peak of the town. The bonus: the view was pretty incredible! Too bad it was extremely late and dark so we couldn’t see any of it yet! We were staying with a few others in our IES Abroad program that we didn’t know too well but added along to make the stay cheaper, and let’s just say, the first night with these strangers did NOT go over well, but I won't dive too deep into that story here...

Saturday, 9/11/21: After a not-so-great start to our trip in Positano last night, my friends and I all woke up early this morning to make the most of a new, fresh day. One thing did work out in our favor a lot this day: it didn’t end up raining at all unlike the forecast had predicted all week!! With that positive start to the day, we all got ready, dressed cute, and went to brunch in the town! We then shopped around a bit (tip: Positano is known for its handmade, high-quality sandals, so definitely get some made for you if you ever visit!), enjoyed some lemon spritzes and aperitivos, then spent the afternoon on the beach, swimming, sipping prosecco, and lounging on some chairs we had rented! It was super relaxing and great to spend time and even bond with the friends that I had made while abroad here, especially after the rough night we had had earlier. Just before dinner time, we all made the long haul back up to our VRBO, showered and freshened up, then headed to an AMAZING dinner where we all enjoyed fine wine and some great Italian cuisine. We also all wanted dessert, but couldn’t decide what to get, so we ended up getting every dessert on the menu and sharing! Later, we spent some time out in the town and finally found myself an espresso martini (my favorite drink!). I thought they’d be a very Italian drink and that I could find them everywhere here, but it turns out that they’re in fact very American and quite a rare commodity in Italy, so I’m glad I was able to stumble upon one!

Sunday, 9/12/21: This morning, I woke up to just one of my other friends in the VRBO with me. The other four had to leave around 4am to catch an early train back as they wanted to make it to the Formula 1 race in Milan. So, us two being the last ones, we checked out of the VRBO and then headed down all those long stairs (for the last time, thank god) and caught a ferry to Salerno. The ferry ride was about an hour long and so beautiful! We got to enjoy the nice weather on the water and see all of the Amalfi coast. In Salerno, we found a breakfast place that served a lot of common American food that I had really been missing like poached eggs, smoothie bowls, and avocado toast! We then lounged around by the beach and at cafes for the rest of the day before catching our train from Salerno back to Milan, where it felt so good to finally be “home,” as I had called it for the first time :) It was a great weekend spent with great new friends, but it had also been quite stressful and draining, so it felt really nice to be back in the familiarity of my second home: Milano.

This week had been full of a lot of stress leading up to our trip in Positano as my five friends and I had been scrambling for much of it to find others to go with us to make our stay cheaper. It was such a relief when we finally found a group of other students to come, but going on vacation for a weekend with strangers turned out to be an even bigger mess than we had expected. Nonetheless, it was a great learning experience as it was my first time properly travelling while abroad, and I learned a lot of what to do and not to do for future endeavors. For example: definitely do travel with people you trust and know you’ll enjoy the company of! Also don’t worry about the price tag of trips too much if it means costing you your safety and comfort. While saving money is great and all, sometimes it’s worth it to splurge just so you have a comfortable place to stay that isn’t a mile-long vertical walk up hundreds of stairs, and that is with only people you feel comfortable with.

All-in-all, successful trips come down to lots of planning, effective budgeting, and of course, experience! Which I’m happy to say that I now have :) I feel much stronger and even more independent after making the trip to Positano, and I also feel so much closer with my new friends here, like we really bonded on the trip. It feels as if I’ve known them for ages, in a good way! I’m so excited to see what the rest of the semester will have in store for us!

P.S. - please enjoy some images of Design Week and my trip to Positano below!

Victoria Pembroke

<p>I'm Tori and I'm from North Bennington, Vermont USA. I'm currently a third-year student at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts studying Finance with minors in Spanish and Information Design and Corporate Communication. At Bentley, I'm treasurer of the Ski and Snowboard Club, Scholarship Chair of Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority, and a member of the Women's Leadership Program, Bentley Literary Society, and Habitat for Humanity. After graduating Bentley I hope to work in corporate finance or investor relations for a few years before eventually following my life-long passion of starting my own fashion brand! I'm therefore so excited to study abroad with IES Abroad in Milan through their Business Studies and Internship program because I'll not only be able to grow as an individual, meet so many new people, and experience an entirely new culture/see new places, but I'll also be able to have hands-on experience in this huge financial district and fashion capital of the world! In my free time I love to alpine ski, read &amp; write, explore new restaurants and visit Boston, have fun with friends, and of course, shop!</p>

Destination:
Term:
2021 Fall
Home university:
Bentley University
Hometown:
North Bennington, VT
Major:
Finance
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