Homework During Vacation?

6 Feb

Studying abroad has its perks about all the cool places you’ll be able to visit, the trips you’ll be able to plan, the discoveries you’ll be able to make, whether it’s intentional or not, and so on, but one thing that can’t be ignored is that you’re still in school.

I still feel like I’m on vacation. The first week of classes were basically like syllabus week at Purdue, where most of the time, it seems like little legitimate work is being assigned, but just getting to know the teacher and students. It’s the second week now and after looking at the bigger picture, the homework is beginning to pile up. Now, compared to Purdue, I still feel like it’s less work, but I feel more involved in my schoolwork in a way. For example, I’m learning so much more Italian and learning it much quicker just because I need this kind of knowledge to help me blend in and adjust better with the locals and city. Language classes here are taught in English, and I don’t know if it’s the way the class is taught, the teacher, or the practicality of the lessons, but it just clicks with me much better and faster than language courses I’ve taken before. Plus, one of the biggest things I love about this program is the faculty. I have Italian and American teachers, but some of my teachers radiate such enthusiasm for their subject, it’s literally just a pleasure to be in their presence. What I also love is the field trips! For some of my classes, we get to go to the bar, the supermarket, and all around the city. It’s just so refreshing having such hands on lessons, experiences, or a combination of both.

These field trips are not just fun and kind of touristy, considering we’re traveling as a class around the city with a teacher talking loud, explaining details to us on the way, but they’re also a chance for us to really get to know the culture better on a first-hand experience. So far, one of my field trips was to the local supermarket. For one thing, they allow dogs inside the store, which I found kind of weird since they’re not too far from the meat section. It also gave me a chance to not only be at a supermarket for the sole purpose of purchasing ingredients for my meals, but to really look at the people, the locals and tourists, and to look at their variety of foods. I did find Pringles and Ritz crackers here! And surprisingly, Nutella is found almost everywhere in containers of all sizes, while peanut butter is scarce. But it’s kind of weird to see American products cost so much here. I haven’t had any of these out here though, just for the sole purpose of trying new brands and types of foods out here. So far, I’ve had occasional regretful random picks. But with lessons learned, I’ve also discovered some pretty delicious stuff out here, including foods I would have avoided on a regular basis back home and items locals have personally suggested!

Now, it is kind of rough splitting my free time because I’d rather be planning weekend trips and imagining possible itineraries rather than reading some articles, but I think I manage it well. Plus, I have the whole city to lay around and work on homework. I’m not restricted to a specific campus. This is also one of the perks I enjoy. The fact that this program isn’t at an actual University is actually an advantage, because the city is basically my campus. It kind of sucks that it’s about a 30 minute walk to campus from where I live, but the walk is still beautiful regardless.

So far, my main concern is my comparing, which is normal for anyone traveling, for both short and long-term trips. Now, even though this aspect is educational, it’s also part of that wake up call that I wanted since it gives me a chance to really see what I have and what I take for granted. Some of which include my walk to classes, dorm food, and cell phones. It’s crazy how my cell phone has been off since I left the states. I’ve also compared school life, housing, foods, stores, and etc to back home, both in Purdue and in LA. Even though some were generalizations, I’m really starting to see how different my life here has been and how I’ve changed. I’ve had moments where I’m homesick and moments where I can’t stop smiling at how amazing it is to actually be here, going to school literally minutes from the Duomo. What’s even more amazing is all the things that I could now say I’ve done, like eat a sandwich from my favorite (yes, I have favorites now!) local sandwich shop and eat it on the steps of the Duomo. It’s literally unbelievable. Unbelievable and unforgettable.


One Response to “Homework During Vacation?”

  1. verbs in spansih March 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    In reading about the post about Spanish food and in particular Tapias I find it interesting to see and read that most people when they think of Spanish food think only of the type of food that is cooked in Spain (I guess maybe not that strange since that is where Spanish comes from).

    But, when you go to Spanish speaking countries llike the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, they consider their type of food Spanish too. Although, many of the dishes have roots from place like Africa.

    If you happen to be in New York CIty for instance, you owe it to yourself to go to a section called Washington Heights where you will have some of the best Domincan (I mean, Spanish food) you’ve ever tasted.

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