ORVIETO, Italy – For most students at Saint Anselm College, April 28th marks the final day of Spring weekend 2018. However, for the 43 SAC students studying abroad in Italy, it is the final day of their time abroad.
Orvieto students have seen “DEPART” marked on their itineraries ever since they began their semester in late January. Shocking as it may seem to most that the end of Orvieto Spring 2019 is only 20 days away, students look back on the memories and knowledge they have gained.
The students in this program have travelled all over Italy and other European cities. With weekly trips to archeological sites and museums, with personal trips out of country on the weekend, these students have become travel pros. As a group, the Orvieto students walked the streets of the Pompeii in the shadow on Mt. Vesuvius. They walked under the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel on one side of Rome and climbed the ancient Roman Palatine Hill at the other. They explored the underground tunnels of the Etruscan city that lie dormant under their homes in Orvieto. They tasted wine straight from its source and crafted their own hand-made pasta.
Over the course of this semester, the Orvieto students have traveled over an estimated 3,140 kilometers, or 1,951 miles, on class trips alone. That is a greater distance than driving from Montreal, Canada to Miami, Florida. It has become normal for students in Orvieto to wake up early every Wednesday and Friday to catch the bus to their next destination. On their most recent trip, the students saw the sunrise on their way to Naples and saw it set together on a seaside cliff.
But the traveling experiences are not limited to class tome. Anyone who studies abroad usually likes to take advantage of the location they have to venture even further into the world. Many have expressed that the cities they visited on their Spring Break gave them some of their fondest memories and greatest mishaps.
Aside from other foreign travel, students have found that even traveling around Italy independently has been memorable. Though Saint A’s students live in Italy, they almost live as full-time tourists. Always looking for the best souvenir shops, taking tacky photos, gripping Google maps for dear life and treating trip advisor as a new age Bible. However, sometimes tourists have the most fun.
Christina Damian, Junior Political Science major, remembers her visit with friends to a tourist staple, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. “We were trying to take as many ridiculous pictures as possible,” Damian tells us “I laughed so hard I got a stitch in my side.” If the pictures Damian has to remember the occasion aren’t enough, the memory will always be with her as she explains “I know I’ll always smile when I think about it.”
If all this travelling across Europe sounds exhausting to some readers, then the Orvieto students would say that is correct. Elizabeth Ryan, Junior Psychology major tells us that many things will be missed about studying aboard but, “I won’t miss being exhausted.” Ryan, an avid traveler is very accustomed to the struggles of trying to sleep in any place she can and worrying about how to finish homework on time too. But do not be scared away by the horrible travel disasters one may be imagining right now. Ryan, while elaborating on the time she finally saw the Eiffel Tower tells us “the sleep deprivation is worth the memories, though.”
Amidst all this travel away from Orvieto is the return. After months living in Orvieto students have found their own favorite memories that make them happy and relaxed to come back to after long days of travel. Orvieto has many hidden gems and students have found which ones are their personal favorites. Some enjoy the world class carbonara at the restaurant Mezza Luna’s, others enjoy the never-ending choice of pastry at the café Dolceamaro. David Broderick, Junior Business and Finance Major, ecstatically tells us that some of his favorite memories from Orvieto would be “sitting outside of the Duomo cathedral at 3 AM and feeding the pigeons.”
Orvieto has surely made a mark on everyone who has studied there for the Spring 2019 semester. For some, they may be counting the days back to American and into the arms of buffalo chicken and iced coffee. For others, they may be dreading the day they leave lands of authentic pasta and good wine. Yet, for anyone returning to Saint A’s, the upcoming semesters will be filled with the famed “One time when I studied abroad…” stories that I’m sure everyone will come to know and love.