Duke Diary Dispatch: A Fond Look Back at an Italian Adventure
The final week had arrived, and it was such a bittersweet feeling. I appreciated the little moments much more -- from eating a panino on the steps of Basilica di San Petronio, getting a brioche and cappuccino at my favorite café, or walking down the street for the best gelato. As one of the final trips, we traveled to Modena to the house of Luciano Pavarotti, the famous opera tenor. It was such a special evening where we were ate finger foods and later sat out in the backyard for a private performance commemorating the late opera singer. These core moments are what I will remember as I revisit pictures and journal entries from this trip.
I remember in my first diary entry I spoke about what I wanted to get out of this program, and I did, that and much more. My six weeks in Bologna have ended but through that short time I learned so much and have newfound friendships that I will treasure for years to come. I still remember the moment I walked out of the airport and my biggest fear was how to get a taxi with my limited Italian skills.
If there’s one thing that I gained during this trip is confidence. I lived in a foreign country for six full weeks, and I thrived. I won’t lie, there were definitely points where I missed home or missed little things from America – like air conditioning -- but I adapted. I learned to order my meals in Italian and used the language whenever I could. I met Bologna students and had meaningful conversations with them. I learned to confidently use the train system and took every form of transportation you can think of. These may seem like simple things but for me, I fell into a routine. This was a big accomplishment, and it gave me confidence that if I could do all of this on my own in a foreign language, I could do anything in America. We had a great cohort of people, and I can confidently say we made the most of these six weeks. I traveled to so many cities and even a new country.
As a recollection of our semester, we made a website for my Italian language class (check out mine here. Though it’s all in Italian, it was such a great way to reflect and think back on everything that we had learned. One of my goals was to improve my speaking abilities and I think I accomplished that. This was such a great encouragement to keep working on my Italian. There would be so many locals that would compliment us or help us when we didn’t know a word. It was so encouraging to hear these things and it has motivated me to keep getting better.
I will miss Bologna dearly. It was amazing to find a city with great people, food, and culture. Through this program, I had so many new and unique experiences. As I say my final goodbyes to the place I called home, I pack my bags for a quick vacation in Greece before heading back to America. One of my dream destinations had been Athens so with some last-minute planning, I headed to Heraklion in Crete and then Athens to end my Europe trip.
With this, I say my goodbyes for now. If you want to look back on the things that I did with my cohort, check out the Instagram we made @dookiesinbologna to see more pictures of our adventures. Thank you for following along with my study-abroad trip. Until next time Italy!