Study Abroad Week 5 - Homesickness & Private Italian Cooking Class

Victoria Pembroke
November 8, 2021

You heard that right: I’ve been here for 5 WHOLE WEEKS! Can you believe that?? I can’t. 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 fifth week abroad:

Monday, 9/27/21: I didn’t have class until 4:50pm today, so I slept in and then worked out in the gym when I woke up. I hung around my room for a bit before heading to my history class. After class, I returned back to Collegio and had dinner there with friends before heading out to some other friends’ apartment building to drink some prosecco and hang out on their rooftop!

Tuesday, 9/28/21: Today, I just had a busy day of my three classes. After my first two that ended around 12:30pm, I grabbed a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks then headed back to Collegio to eat some lunch and watch Gilmore Girls - I really needed to feel some fall vibes today as I was severely missing my New England autumns that I experience back in Vermont and Massachusetts every year! After my third class for the day, I worked out at the gym at Collegio, had some dinner, and enjoyed more Gilmore Girls and downtime.

Wednesday, 9/29/21: This morning I slept in until about noon (crazy, I know) then went for a run! I then showered, got ready for the day, and cleaned up my room a little. I finished up some homework for my History Of Italian Cities class before heading to the class itself at 4:50pm (after grabbing another pumpkin spice latte - guilty as charged!) Later, I had dinner at Collegio and then packed up my bags because my boyfriend was visiting for the weekend and we were both going to be staying in an AirBnB in Milan since I can’t have overnight visitors at Collegio.

Thursday, 9/30/21: Today… (I’m sorry IES Abroad if you’re reading this please don’t kill me) I skipped all three of my classes! Yep. All three! It was a decision I made so that I could meet my boyfriend right at the Milano Centrale Train Station when he arrived at 9am and then could show him around and spend a proper, full day with him. He was flying in from Vienna, where he studies abroad, and his travel experience luckily went perfectly smoothly! After meeting him at the train station, we headed back to Collegio where I showed him around the campus and then he left his bags there because we couldn’t check into the AirBnB yet. We then went downtown to walk around the Duomo area, visit the Starbucks Reserve, and tour the Claude Monet exhibit at a nearby museum with one of my friends here. I then walked him around the San Ambrogio area and showed him where I took classes before we headed back to Collegio to grab his bags and then finally check into our AirBnB in Brera. We then headed out to Navigli for the night at an amazing dinner at Oficina 12.

Friday, 10/1/21: Woke up this morning in the AirBnb with a crisp, cool fall feel to the air, and so you just KNEW that I had to… yup… you guessed it, get yet ANOTHER pumpkin spice latte from starbucks. I took a 10 minute stroll to a nearby one in Brera to pick both me and my boyfriend up a latte before getting some groceries and snacks at a nearby market and then heading back to the AirBnB to make us some scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon. We then took an impromptu day trip to Lake Como and it was amazing! The train to Como was super cheap and quick and we were able to take a nice, long ferry to Bellagio and enjoy the sites of the lake and all the little towns on it. We enjoyed lunch in Como and some gelato in Bellagio, then a nice dinner back in Como before heading back to Milan for the night!

Saturday, 10/2/21: Okay, so this might have totally been one of my favorite days I’ve had in Milan! I woke up early to head back to Collegio to shower, grab some new clothes for the rest of the weekend, and steal us some breakfast donuts and croissants from the cafeteria. My boyfriend and I then grabbed brunch at noon at The Dome - La Terrazza, which was a super chic, rooftop brunch spot that overlooked the Duomo and had an array of coffees, cocktails, cakes, chocolates, and many different dishes from focaccia, omelettes, fruit bowls, avocado toast, pancakes, pastry baskets, and more! We then shopped around the Duomo area and then went to some thrift shops in the San Ambrogio area and then the streetwear shops near Navigli and Porta Genova. Later, we freshened up back at the AirBnB before heading to our own, personal cooking class in San Ambrogio. It was an absolutely AMAZING experience that left me speechless. We actually took the class in our instructor's home and she was so sweet and funny, offering us complimentary snacks and a total of two bottles of white wine and a bottle of champagne (which we finished all three of by the end of the night). She also was a great instructor and not only taught us a lot about the Italian food we made (gnocchi and tiramisu), but also a lot about Italian food and culture as a whole, constantly engaging with us about our experience abroad vs. back home in the states, and gave us many recommendations of things to do and see in Milan as well as the rest of Europe! After we made all of our food, we ate it right there with her and by the end of the night we were definitely feeling all of the wine! Overall, the best 3.5 hours of my life! 10/10 recommend :)

Sunday, 10/3/21: Today we slept in a little and then I took another walk to Starbucks to grab myself some coffee and pick up some avocados to make fried eggs and avocado toast for us back in the AirBnB. We then got ready for the day and walked around Brera where we checked out some fashion stores and got some great tapas at an authentic Spanish cuisine restaurant. We then returned back to the AirBnB, packed up, checked out, and said our goodbyes as my boyfriend headed to the airport to fly back to Vienna and as I headed back to Collegio di Milano!

Overall, this week was a really interesting one where I started to experience my first real wave of homesickness but was able to overcome it in unique ways, especially by the time the weekend came. Sure, I’ve been missing all my friends and family back home for awhile now, but I’ve loved my time abroad so much that I haven’t really felt homesick until this week when the fall weather started to hit and I began to miss my New England autumns like crazy. It made me so sad to hear my mom talk about going pumpkin picking and see many of my friends at college post pictures of them apple picking together, and the fall foliage just doesn’t look the same here at all (basically non-existent, if you ask me, but I’m used to Vermont and Massachusetts). However, I was able to find some cheer in finding pumpkin spiced lattes at Starbucks and watch some Gilmore Girls which gives me very much fall-vibes. I also was lucky enough to see my boyfriend on the weekend, which was definitely a nice reminder of home. But above all else, I found that the best way to combat this kind of homesickness is to remember that you’ll be home soon and for good! (Unless you plan to move to Europe). Also, when you return home, remember that you’ll definitely miss all the things you grew to love and get used to in your study abroad city, so you want to go home with the feeling that you really appreciated it all when you had the chance rather than spend all your time missing home! Distract yourself from what you miss from home by embracing the parts of your study abroad city that are so unique and that you’ll definitely miss when you leave! For me, this meant appreciating the great shopping and sight-seeing in Milan, the beautiful strolls I take everyday throughout the streets, the amazing nightlife, food, and clubs that are never-ending, the countless museums and exhibits, and the amazing opportunities the city offers you, from cooking classes to the proximity of wonderful cities and lakes like Como, Guarda, Maggiore, Verona, and Torino! Missing home is normal, but appreciate your study abroad city while you have it. You’ll be home before you know it :)

As always, enjoy some pictures from my week 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>

2021 Fall
Home University:
Bentley University
North Bennington, VT
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