I’m entering my third week in Italy, and I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown! My roommate pointed out today that we really have done so much in so little time. Last week, we visited a 500-year-old Tuscan villa that is still used for events and weddings. It had gorgeous lemon and orange trees in the gardens and a stunning view of Florence. We also visited the Uffizi Gallery and saw, among other things, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Spring. It was amazing to see them in person.

Over the weekend, we took a group trip to the Amalfi Coast. It was as beautiful in real life as in pictures. It took us about six hours by bus to get there, and the hotel was old and small, but the sights we saw over two days were incredible. We took a boat tour of Capri, swam in the Mediterranean, walked the Gardens of Augustus, and took a nap on the beach of Positano. After two weeks of sporadic rain in Florence, we loved having sunshine. On the second day, we toured the ruins of Pompeii, and I learned that it is difficult but possible to hike Mt. Vesuvius in sandals. I felt just like a Roman!

Studying abroad, especially in a different time zone, can make you feel very disconnected from your friends and family at home. In a way, it’s like going to summer camp: you have less access to the internet and other media, and it’s easy to feel like you are in a completely separate world. When people ask us about American news, sometimes it’s hard to even remember what’s going on there, even if I had checked the news the night before.

My comprehension of Italian in getting better and better. If I pay attention, I can usually understand almost everything the instructor says in class. My anxiety about speaking in class is not as severe anymore as well. If I want to retain anything I’ve learned here, however, I’m going to have to be very self-disciplined and intentional about practicing when I return home.

We have only one more weekend before we fly home. On Saturday we’re going to Venice, but Sunday is still to be determined. I’m sure we’ll make the most of it, though!

Here are a few pics:


The view from Capri.



You can see a little smoke rising from the crater of Vesuvius.



Taking a break during a walking tour of Pompeii.