The past two weeks have been more academic than entertaining for me. I had one of my first assignments due last week, which is weird since we are practically halfway through the term at this point. Coming into the program, the professors who gave speeches during orientation told us that the workload might be difficult for some students. Honestly, this worried me more than it should have. Combining all of the assignments I have for each of my classes, I only have 5 papers and one test. For someone that is used to this workload or more for one class alone back at Rollins, my term is quite simple in relation to homework. The only thing about this that bothers me is that none of these assignments were due in the first half of the term, but are all due around the same time in the second half, although this did give me time to adapt to the school and meet new people before throwing myself into homework.
Other than that, there were a few fun things that we did in the past two weeks. On October 29th, a few friends and I went into Brighton, a really cute town on the coast of England. It was nice being able to see the beach again and the pier reminded me a lot of a city I have back home called Ocean City.
There were a bunch of small stores and shops selling food, like ice cream, churros, and crepes. Seeing as we went all the way there, we decided to ride one of the carnival-like rides, which was fun, but also kind of frightening due to the loud sounds it made of metal scraping against metal when it started.
Halloween was interesting to say the least. The holiday isn’t as big here as it is in the states. I saw maybe two dorms decorated, but that was about it. Instead, my friends and I stayed in and spent the night together hanging out in our flat. While I miss celebrating, it was a nice change of pace.
Now for something a little more exciting: On Saturday, we left for Italy! Our school offers a weeklong break in the middle of the term and that week happens to be taking place right now and my friends and I decided to do our own little tour of Italy and started our trip in Venice. When we first got here, we settled in to our Airbnb and went to dinner to eat some real pasta. And one cannot go to Italy without getting gelato, so we stopped off on our way back.
The rain yesterday was quite depressing in the morning while we ate breakfast, but it cleared up in the afternoon, allowing us to actually see Italy in sunlight. The only downfall was the fact that the rain left the entirety of the city flooded, meaning everyone had to walk on platforms raised a few feet off the ground, making transportation from one place to the next take a little extra time than desired. Nonetheless, we stopped off at all of the places we wanted to see while we were there. First, we visited St. Mark’s Basilica, which was beautiful. The walls are made almost entirely of marble and the ceiling is decorated in a gorgeous variety of colorful mosaics.
We then walked along the shops and bought some souvenirs. Of course, the one thing you must do when visiting Venice is ride a gondola along the canals. While it was really expensive (80 euros a boat for 30 minutes), it was completely worth it!
We finished off the day visiting the Bridge of Sighs and the Ponte di Rialto.
I am currently writing this blog post on the train to Verona, which is our next stop on our trip!