Orvieto 2019: Students prepare for sendoff

Brooke Blackburn, Crier staff

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Students from Saint Anselm College made their way back to the hilltop on Monday, January 14 for the start of the Spring 2019 semester. A few fortunate students, however, remained on hiatus as they wait for the start of an exciting journey. The 43 students studying with Saint A’s Orvieto program begin their journey abroad on Thursday, January 24.

The Orvieto program has gained much popularity in recent years, and not without reason. Orvieto is a quaint city bursting with history, natural beauty, and all the charms of Italian culture. It is geographically situated between Florence and Rome as well as being in the heart of Italian wine and olive country.

It is the perfect counterpart for the small liberal arts attitude of Saint A’s, as Orvieto’s hilltop is home to just over 5,000 people. The friendly and inviting nature reported in Orvieto is ideal for the Saint Anselm partner abroad and is sure to make students feel right at home.

Yet, no matter how welcoming Orvieto may be, studying abroad in any foreign country is sure to be nerve wracking. Many students have worries about adapting to culture, language, and missing home. Some students, like sophomore Joseph Venuti, have never even been outside the United States before. Venuti expresses all these concerns and more, saying he will miss spending time with his friends outside of class and his job in Admissions. The fear of missing out, or “FOMO”, is likely on the minds of many of the Orvieto students this semester as they all wait patiently at home while their friends are all back together in New Hampshire. But the antidote to this fear is clear.

Venuti explains that, “the experience I expect to have with the friends I’m going to Italy with should more than make up for the experience I’m going to miss out on.”

Alongside the once in a lifetime immersion into a foreign country, Saint A’s students also see Orvieto as an opportunity to be away from the intensity of regular SAC classes. The GPA boost students hope for, however, might not be so easy. The Orvieto program is geared especially towards Saint A’s students and curriculum. It is taught by members of the Saint Anselm faculty, which means it is also graded by members of the Saint Anselm faculty. The Orvieto program, therefore, boasts the same academic standards. Although Saint Anselm classes, including those in Orvieto, may be rigorous, they are not without reward.

The academic attitude of any Saint A’s class is to create an approach to a lifetime of learning. Junior Kait Brine mirrors this philosophy even before classes begin in Orvieto expressing an “inspiration to explore and adventure on throughout [her] life.”

Students involved in the Orvieto program will never be short of sights to see. As Italy is a part of Europe, it exists on the borders on many countries rich with ancient history unlike the United States which sits across the ocean geographically isolated from most countries.

The Chiavi course required for all Saint A’s students in Orvieto specifically plans tours, workshops and trips around Italy as part of the class. Students can also take advantage of many long weekends to travel to many dream destinations.

Yet, when Junior Erin Mahar was asked what she absolutely had to do while in Italy, she did not reply with a destination but rather said, “I am much more excited about the adventure as a whole.”

Mahar goes on to express her wish to “cherish the time and memories that come out of my time abroad” reminding, perhaps herself and those around her, that it is not just where you are that makes a memory count, but also what you do.

All the excitement, planning, and nerves of students enrolled in Orvieto Spring 2019 may grow even more as they depart for their semester abroad in Italy. It is sure to be an experience of a lifetime, and there are many stories on the horizon. Everyone at Saint A’s wishes them well, with perhaps, a little FOMO of their own.

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