Seven weeks abroad. Wait, I’m sorry, what?? That just doesn’t sound right at all. The time has completely flown by, there’s no way I’m almost halfway through! 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 seventh week abroad:
Monday, 10/11/21: Today marked the start of another week back in Milan for classes after my Lake Como trip! The air was especially crisp and fallish today, so I opted for a pair of dark jeans, beige top and beige trench coat for a neutral, autumn fit. I had a pretty simple day: I slept in, I went to my afternoon class, caught up on some work, and then spent the night at Collegio. I also made some calls to my mom and finished finalizing my parent’s itinerary since they would be visiting me that very weekend!! I was so excited that I planned their whole 10-day trip for them!
Tuesday, 10/12/21: Today was a busy but pretty boring day. I just went to my three classes and basically spent most of my time outside class doing some homework, facetiming a few friends, and journaling.
Wednesday, 10/13/21: Today was exciting because I had my very first meeting with my Italian language exchange partner! For two points of extra credit on our final Italian grades, IES Abroad matched us up with a high school Italian student in Milan who is trying to learn English. We get to meet with them a few times a semester to help each other with the other’s language, and then just submit brief assignments based on our meetings. While the extra credit points are definitely great, I mostly took advantage of this opportunity in order to get more involved with authentic Milanese people and learn more about the Italian culture and language, and I’m happy to say that my Italian language partner definitely did not disappoint! We met at a local cafe near the IES Abroad Center and chatted for over an hour, half in English and half in (very broken, for me) Italian. I had so much fun meeting my partner and was so impressed with how easily I was able to carry on a conversation with her :) Afterwards, I headed to my afternoon class and spent the night at Collegio.
Thursday, 10/14/21: Today I went to my three classes then put all the finishing touches on my parents travel plans as their flight to Milan departed today. I also packed up for the weekend as we’d be spending it in Verona and Venice!
Friday, 10/15/21: This morning I woke up abruptly to a loud knocking on my door around 6:30am: my friend was waking me up because I had overslept! Dejavu right? I need to stop oversleeping! We had a really early bus to catch for an IES Abroad sponsored field trip to Verona, and I couldn’t miss it! It was especially important that I make it to Verona because my parents were meeting me there in the afternoon and we were to spend the night there together! Luckily, I had showered and packed everything up the night before, so I was able to get ready and make it to the bus justtt in time! The bus ride was about three hours and I was able to catch a short nap during it, then we were immediately on our way through a guided walking tour once we arrived in Verona! We saw the Roman Amphitheatre, Castelvecchio and Ponte Scaligero, Piazza dei Signori and Loggia del Consiglio, and then Romeo’s House before breaking for lunch! We enjoyed a ten-person lunch with a bunch of my girlfriends and I in the Piazza delle Erbe where I had an amazing Carbonara Pizza! We then met back up with the group to visit Juliet’s House/Balcony and the Verona Arena, which happened to be just a minute walk from the apartment my parents and I were staying at! So, I checked us in and waited for them to arrive by taxi from the Verona train station. The timing worked out perfectly and I didn’t have to wait long - it was official: we were reunited! This was a particularly special moment because it was their first time in Europe, let alone Italy, as well as their first time seeing me in a month and a half! We also hadn’t really been sure if the trip was even going to happen or not with the uncertainty surrounding COVID. But we did it! They were here! We enjoyed an amazing dinner full of pasta, veal, and phenomenal wine before going to bed early since they were extremely jetlagged.
Saturday, 10/16/21: This morning my parents and I woke up early (despite them still getting used to the time difference) and headed out into Verona for a nice breakfast. I spent the rest of the day showing them the sites our tour guide had showed me yesterday, then later in the afternoon my dad sat down to grab a coffee while my mom and I shopped around the city. (Major Study Abroad Tip: get your parents to visit you and then take them to all the expensive restaurants and stores so you can have great food and clothes for a week or so without having to spend a dime!) In the late afternoon, we caught a train into Venice where we actually met a really cool, young American man in the air force who gave us some tips about what to see while in Venice and also told us about this really cool app, Vivino, which lets you compare the quality, taste aspects, and history of different wines all with the snap of the wine label! And no, this post is not sponsored by Vivino, or any product in fact, but damn, wouldn’t I be an amazing promoter?? Ryanair, I’m looking at you ;) Once in Venice, we checked into our hotel, enjoyed some rooftop aperitivo, then walked around the entire city before having yet another amazing dinner!
Sunday, 10/17/21: This morning we grabbed coffee and croissants in Venice before visiting some amazing sights including Piazza San Marco and St. Mark’s Basilica. We enjoyed a nice walk back to the hotel, passing over many bridges over the beautiful canals and seeing many (somehow not tired looking) gondola men and their tourist riders. We checked out of the hotel and had lunch near the train station before heading back to Milan, which was exciting because my parents hadn’t even seen the beautiful city yet even though they’d been here for a few days! Once back, we checked into their hotel in Milan and then I took them to have dinner by the Duomo and espresso martinis at the Starbucks Reserve. I then walked them to the iconic middle finger statue nearby, and then said goodnight for the night and headed back to Collegio while they headed back to their hotel. Once back at Collegio, I actually got to zoom in with the Ski Club back at my home school, Bentley University, because I’m on the EBoard for the club and they were holding freshman Eboard election interviews, which I definitely didn’t want to miss, and am glad I didn’t because it was so fun!
Overall, this week was incredibly fun and I’m so glad my parents were able to make it to Italy to visit me! This week really showed me how independent I have become while abroad and how much I have grown in just social aspects and maturity, particularly in regards to travelling and planning things on my own. My parents were so impressed with how easily I could get around Italy and how much successful planning I did for their trip here, and honestly, I was impressed with myself too! This was the first week where I really felt like I was getting this travel thing down, and I couldn’t be more proud and excited about my progress! Not only that, but I was so happy with how easily I could talk to a complete Italian stranger when I met up with my language partner! We had really good discussions and there wasn’t really an awkward moment at all, and it made me realize how much I have truly grown since being abroad into a charismatic person who can easily get along with others and network. The experience of being in a foreign country and having to make friends with strangers from all around the U.S. will do that to you I guess! This will be an especially important skill to have as I enter the business world in my internships and future career, and I can’t wait to see how much more I grow into my “Winning Others Over” skill :)
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<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 & write, explore new restaurants and visit Boston, have fun with friends, and of course, shop!</p>