weekend in roma

This was one of the first weekends where my roommates and I stayed in Rome. The past couple of weeks have been busy with travel, so it was so nice to have a relaxing weekend in Rome! On Friday, my class at the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci went on a tour of the Vatican. I had been to the Vatican years ago, but still was so anxious to get inside. We pass the Vatican on our walk home every day, and every time we do it makes me think of how lucky I am to be studying in a place as beautiful as Roma.

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Sunday was a very special day…my first AS Roma game! At 8:45pm, AS Roma took on Bologna FC. My roommates and I bought our maroon and yellow scarfs and we were ready to go. I could not believe the difference between sporting events in America and sporting events here. The energy of the fans made for an unforgettable experience. To the left of us was the group of die-hard Roma fans. Tons of maroon and yellow flags were being waved throughout the entire game.

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The most rowdy fans I have experienced are at hockey or football games, but even those were nothing compared to this. There were flares being set off, chants being sung, and while I didn’t know any of the words, or these traditions for that matter, I still loved every minute of it. One of my goals while studying here is to accept the Roman culture, and AS Roma is definitely a big part of that. The 5-0 win wasn’t bad either!!

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This coming week, my family is coming to Roma! My parents arrive tomorrow and my sister comes on Thursday. We have a great week planned, so I can’t wait to share on Monday!

the land of beer & pretzels

Guten Tag readers! Wow. What a weekend! On Thursday night, my roommates and I packed our bags and set off on a twelve-hour bus ride to Munich, Germany from the Termini Station in Rome (through Bus2Alps!) It was an overnight bus ride, filled with college students like ourselves, anxiously waiting to reach Germany, and to stretch out their legs. A twelve-hour bus ride is rough, just as rough as it sounds, but the excitement leading up to Oktoberfest somewhat lessened the blow. 

We arrived at Jaeger’s Hostel in Munich at 8am, and soon met up with our friends from HWS. There were nineteen of us total! It was an amazing get-together and we were all able to see our friends that are studying abroad in other cities in Europe, such as Prague, Copenhagen, and Budapest! Saturday was the first day of Oktoberfest, so it was the most exciting! All of us were at the grounds by 7:30am, 4.5 hours before they even start serving beer, but it’s necessary in order to get a table! 

Oktoberfest consists of fourteen tents, as well as food stands, and carnival rides. Our group chose the Lowenbrau tent, one of the larger tents that’s filled with mostly Europeans, especially Germans! The tent was decorated in yellow and red, with chandeliers and a band in the center of the room on an elevated stage. 

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Along with the mugs of beer, there were so many different kinds of pretzels! Salted soft, sugar, cinnamon, cheese, bacon & cheese: amazing. Our table ordered all different kinds, and filled up our stomachs for our long day ahead. 

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At noon, the mayor of Munich tapped the giant keg, and the celebrations began! Everyone rushed to get a free mug of beer from the keg, as women servers carried eleven mugs of beer at once! We were in awe. As the day went on, the celebration got bigger. Every now and then, someone would get on top of their table, chug their mug of beer, and the crowd would go crazy. But, if you were unable to finish (which happened a few times), the crowd would boo until they sat down. 

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By about 5:00, everyone was wiped. We had been up for twelve hours at that point! My roommates and I went back to our hostel, took a quick nap, and went downstairs where a bunch of other kids were still drinking and celebrating. I would definitely recommend a hostel to future students visiting Oktoberfest! It was a great way to meet other American kids studying abroad. 

This weekend was an unforgettable weekend; Saturday was one of my favorite days abroad. Celebrating with friends that we haven’t seen in months at one of the biggest celebrations in the world! Cheers to an amazing time at Oktoberfest, talk to you all on Monday!

under the tuscan sun

This Saturday was a very special day. In Geneva, NY, where I attend school, it’s customary to celebrate your 21st birthday on a wine tour at the local vineyards. Well, my 21st was this weekend, and while I missed out on the Genevan wine tours, I may have topped this tradition. I toured around Montepulciano and Montalcino: two beautiful towns in Tuscany. I had been to Tuscany once before, in December when it was around 40 degrees, and definitely not as enjoyable as this weekend. The day was perfect: 78 degrees, and clear and sunny skies.

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There was a group of fifteen, and everyone was in awe by the unbelievable beauty. Acres and acres of vineyards and hills and picturesque hillside towns. Montalcino was the last stop on our tour, and in my opinion, the most beautiful. This town is famous for their Brunello wine. I can honestly say I have a new appreciation for red wine, which I had written out of my mind since I’ve been here. I even ordered it at a restaurant tonight! 

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We did the tour through the Bus2Alps program–which I highly recommend for future and current students studying abroad! They offer trips all of Europe, leaving from multiple cities all for very reasonable prices. 

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate the big 2-1, than being surrounded by friends, great wine, and breathtaking views. This Thursday, I leave for Oktoberfest in Munich (also through Bus2Alps!) Hoping for another amazing weekend in Europe. Talk to you all then!

benvenuti a roma

Finally, my first post from Roma! Buongiorno readers!! After a restless eight hour flight from JFK on Tuesday, hours of orientation at the Fiumicino Airport, and trekking through Roma with my overweight luggage, I am officially settled into my apartment in Prati! My apartment is a ten-minute walk from the Vatican which provides breathtaking views.

My morning walk to the Scuola entails passing St. Peter’s Square, crossing the Tevere River, and winding down the narrow streets in the center of Roma. The roads are lined with mopeds and beautifully potted plants and flowers…not to mention little cafes that contain some of the best food I’ve ever eaten! If I eat one more piece of proscuitto, I think I may burst…

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Being abroad is definitely an adjustment, and I was aware of this going into my trip. Little things, such as laundry detergent and toilet paper (which are easily accessible at a supermarket in the US) aren’t as easy to find here! My roommates and I have been combing our area, trying to find these necessities.

What makes adjusting easier, is being with the other students from HWS. There are about thirty-five of us total, and although our apartments are spread out among the city, we’ve all found ways to find each other. This past weekend, a group of about twenty of us invaded an Irish Pub, Scholar’s Lounge, in the city center. Lately, we’ve been going to more American style places, to help with the adjustment and to be around other students studying abroad in Rome.

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This morning is our first day of class at the Scuola de Leonardo da Vinci, located in the Piazza dell’ Orologio. Up until October 1, school consists of three hours of intensive Italian Mon-Fri. In October, we start up our other classes–with Fridays off! We’re all a little nervous, as we haven’t looked at Italian in a few months, but here’s hoping it all floods back!

Talk to you all next Monday!