I finished my first quarter of classes! i’ll have to hand it to problem based learning— it’s definitely an effective method of teaching. If you put in the effort, you get results, and barely have to study for exams. But After all that hard work and many hours spent in the reading room, Ive never been more ready for a break! So I’m off to meet up with friends in Rome, Florence, and Budapest!
In Rome and Florence, I’ll be hitting up the major tourists sites, going vintage shopping, and stuffing my face with gelato! I’ll also meet up with Jade, a GW student currently studying in Florence with a provider program. But beyond the typical tourist stuff, Italy holds a special place in my family history. My father spent a majority of his 20s in Italy cycling for a professional team. I remember sitting in his office when I was younger, listening to him spin tails about how Italian grandmothers who taught him how to make pizza, how he’d exchange champagne won from races for a place to sleep, and how difficult it was to live in a country where no one spoke his language. I never thought that I would have the chance to visit, let alone stomp around on his old grounds!
So far, I’ve spent a night in Rome, and I can see why my father fell in love with Italy. After a day of walking around the borghese gardens and the Vatican, stuffing my face with four euro pasta, I’m tired, sore, and breathless. Breathless not because of the 40,000 steps I took, but because of the scenery and art. Literally— I audibly gasped when I entered the Raphael rooms in the Vatican! The Netherlands has great art, don’t get me wrong, but there’s really no comparison to seeing the Sistine chapel and saint peters basilica, or just walking past the bright buildings littered throughout Rome. And if the art is this good in Rome, Who knows what Florence— the true birthplace of the renaissance— will have in store!
In about six days I’ll be off to Budapest to see my GW friend, Matilda. I’m not sure I want to leave Italy, but I’m excited to see a familiar face from GW. She’s currently studying at Central European university, on GW exchange! A masters university located in the heart of Budapest, CEu is one of the oldest masters programs on the continent, and boasts impressive scientific and humanities qualifications. When I told my classmates about my plans, their jaws immediately dropped, asking me how Matilda got in, how she liked it, and how the classes were. Apparently it has quite the reputation in Europe, and GW students are lucky enough to have program options there! I have no idea what Budapest will be like, but I’m hoping that, since I’m visiting hallowweekend, there will be plenty of spooky things to do. Unfortunately, I don’t think pumpkin gnocchi will be enough to satisfy my cravings for jack o lanterns.