Oh, Siena, can this really be the end?Siena, Spring 2010
Somehow we finished all our papers, finals and orals (this usually ends up happening no matter how stressful everything seems) and we had our farewell dinner last night. Toasts were made, praise was given, civetta calendars were handed out and then we all headed to the bar – I suppose one of the benefits of being an “adult” is getting to drink with your professors and superiors. The picture above is of my smallest, hardest class, Literature of Love; just the three of us and Daniele. In my opinion, the IES classes in Italian are the best ones, and it’s a shame that so many people shy away from them in favor of the English classes. I highly encourage anyone doing this program to give the Italian classes a try, even if only for the first few weeks. When you study in a non-english speaking country, you will get more out of the experience if you speak the language. Hearing professors speak about the subject they are most passionate about in their native tongue was an amazing experience. Love poetry in Italian; I should have tape-recorded his lectures.
Also: live in a home-stay. Two students told me they regretted choosing an apartment and that they believed they would have had a significantly better time had they chosen to live with a family (both were a little introverted and didn’t end up feeling very integrated into the city). You won’t feel as lonely, you’ll get home-cooked meals, your Italian will improve, it’s cheaper, and you’ll understand more of the culture. Quintuple win. Try to figure out a language exchange; many Italian want to improve their English.
It’s easy to remember what it was like when I first came to Siena. I could barely find my way to the Piazza del Campo, I didn’t know the best place to get pizza, and I thought cold stone ice cream was the best in the world. It’s easy to understand that sometime soon I’ll have to leave Siena, but it feels so strange and it makes me uneasy. I’ve settled into Siena, into my room and into my routine here. I climbed to the top of the tower with some other students today for the bird’s eye view of Siena. I firmly believe that there should be towers in every city that you can climb up for free (it costs 8 euro here, but IES reimburses you). The bell rang while we were standing under it. You can see where the other towers used to be and the way the streets gently curve around the city. I could see my terrace. I would recommend saving this until the end, when you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at. Siena, I’m really glad I got to know you.
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