Settle in for a long one because within the past two weeks I have flown 1375.99 km, driven 1881 km, kayaked over shipwrecks, surfed waves and sand dunes but before all the exciting part there was planning. All done as last second as possible which is not very surprising considering my history with procrastinating. The week began very relaxed as usual although it was clear students wanted the mid semester to hurry. Ali and I had booked a flight to Brisbane bright and early at 7am on Saturday morning. We wanted to road trip along the gold coast and all the way back to Melbourne. So of course, we sat down to finally plan the details of the trip on Friday night and boy did we regret it. We hadn’t finished working out the itinerary and packing until 1 or 2 in the morning. Luckily, our friend Ash had offered us a ride to the airport so very weary eyed we left Saturday morning for Brisbane.
This past week I was lucky enough to have a visitor from home – my brother! Although my parents were unable to make it out to visit me due to work commitments, my older brother managed to make it all the way to Florence for a week long holiday! My brother, John, had planned to visit me since before I even bought my own plane ticket to Italy last semester. It was nice to have something to look forward to and to remind me of home! Having a piece of home with you while you are abroad is always a little bit comforting. During the first part of the week, he visited his friend that is stationed in Vicenza and went to an Italian Serie A soccer game with him. This first part of the week, I was still in Paris, but once I returned we made plans to visit Rome, Pisa, and Cinque Terre for the remainder of his time in Florence. Continue reading
With just two weeks left before I return to the United States, the academic realities of studying abroad have begun to hit as all of the “fun and games” come to an end. I can hardly believe that in the past 5 months, I’ve been to nearly every major region in Spain, and traveled to five new countries on two different continents. Now, I am currently bracing myself for my four final exams in the coming weeks that I have yet to prepare for.
This week was sadly our last week of the Community ESL program at my university. On Monday, a “graduation ceremony” was held for all of the students who enrolled in a class this semester. Continue reading
33 days left in my time studying abroad in Florence, Italy! It was not until one of my roommates pointed this out this past weekend that our time abroad has been flying by! It is unbelievable how fast time goes when you’re having some fun. Studying abroad is intriguing, nerve-wrecking, exciting, and leaves you speechless, all at once. Although I am now biased towards studying in Florence, studying abroad anywhere will change your life and I highly suggest it!
In the next month that I am still here, my brother is coming to visit, I have multiple presentations and papers to submit, and I also have a few more places to travel to before I head home for the Summer! Continue reading
In Spain, Semana Santa is recognized as the holiest week of the year. Processions are held in every region of the country, commemorating the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. Plaza de Cristo Rey, the once bustling roundabout where my flat is located, resembled a gravesite at the start of Semana Santa.
The Easter holiday is celebrated quite differently in Spain compared to the States. Never once did I see ads for Easter egg hunting or photos with the Easter bunny. Rather, the processions during Semana Santa consist of floats, parades, and street celebrations that portray each stage before Jesus is resurrected on Easter. The ginormous floats are carried on the backs of dozens of volunteers and paraded down the streets for hours. Continue reading
With the mid-semester break creeping up shortly, I am beyond surprised that I have been living in Melbourne for more than 2 months. I have loved almost everything about Australia like the amazing weather, people, and accents. Yes, I am still not even close to tired of hearing their accents. Even when I am in the library listening to my lectures and there’s a large group of friends making too much noise for a library setting, I’m not mad. They could find a more appropriate location for their discussion but when they are speaking loudly with Australian accents it makes it just a little less annoying.
However, one thing I do not enjoy about Australia is the school system. Continue reading
Have you ever traveled alone? If not, me neither until this past weekend! The amount of solo female travelers that I follow on Instagram, inspired me to try traveling on my own for once as well! I knew that if I wanted to keep traveling as much as I possibly can, my friends or family may not always be able to join me in my adventures, therefore; it was time to try a weekend of solo traveling! I decided that my first solo trip should be to somewhere that I can still have data and service on my cell phone, in order to make it a little bit easier on myself at first. Going to a new country and having limited data capabilities and trying to find destinations on your own is extremely difficult, so I chose an in-country destination. I decided to travel to the Amalfi Coast, in Southern Italy to explore this weekend!
Life’s unexpected surprises and circumstances is truly the best part about being alive. A few weeks ago, my best friend Kaleigh booked a flight to Madrid to visit me and my roommate Carla! Kaleigh was my freshman year roommate at Marymount, and the three of us have become inseparable ever since. Carla and I were devastated when she decided to leave Marymount at the end of her freshman year, but our ongoing friendship has ceased to dissolve.
A few weeks ago, I had told my boyfriend about my money troubles. With all of the traveling and unexpected costs my bank account was depleting quickly. I knew if I wanted to travel to Thailand, Sydney, Tasmania and wherever else I would need to fund most of it on my own. My parents were willing to help however it is hard to ask them for financial help when they funded most of my trip here including the program fees, flight costs, and housing. I had spoken all of my issues aloud to my boyfriend Pedro, who is one of the most caring, supportive, and loving people I have ever met. He had suggested I make a GoFundme which is a website that people use to fundraise money. However, I had this presumption that people who set these fundraisers up are likely to receive donations from family members. This was a bit complicated for me.
This has been my first weekend in Madrid in a little over a month, which definitely made me realize how fast time is flying. Earlier this week, my friends and I finalized our plans to visit the south of Spain for Semana Santa (Holy week/spring break), which I’m so excited for. Thus, having a free weekend to recharge and unwind before doing more traveling next week has been so refreshing and invigorating.
I have reached the time in the semester where I was filling my days with studying and organizing notes to prepare for Midterms over an entire week. Luckily, I am only in four classes so I only had to prepare for four separate exams! The unfortunate part about that is the fact that I have three of those classes within one day, so I had three exams in the course of eight hours! It was a rough day! This was different to me than from Marymount’s Midterm week due to the fact that sometimes my classes would not even have midterms! Often times, the midterm exams would consist of submitting a paper or even the exams would be short and simple. This was not the case at Lorenzo de Medici – there was a Midterm week and every class had an exam! It was quite the challenge! Continue reading