These past three weeks I have been a part of the Intermediate Macroeconomics (EC 309) trip to Croatia and Italy. The way our program was structured is the first week we took classes Monday through Thursday and then had our midterm that Friday, then the following week we had classes Monday through Wednesday then wrapped up the course on Thursday with our final. Yes, it was quick-paced but very manageable. During the time we were taking class we stayed in Croatia, traveling city to city. However, once the course ended we embarked on our journey to Italy. In Italy, with our program, we visited Rome and Venice.
Italy has been on my bucket list to see for a very long time, so it was fun to check those destinations off. However, alongside the joy of visiting these new places there was a great deal of culture shock. Compared to Croatia, in Italy the locals and workers were not a welcoming as the Croatians and they was a large increase in the amount of tourists. Rome had beautiful historical aspects including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Colessium, and the Navatican, but past these treasures the city mimicked an Italian version of New York City. Furthermore, in Venice it was neat to experience a city where the large transportation method was boat. Here, my expectation versus reality was far off. For some reason I though the only way to get from place to place was boat, but that is most definitely not the case in fact, most of the time we walked. Venice was our least favorite to navigate for the streets were very narrow and google maps was not the best at keeping up at where you are located. Additionally, our hotel was off the main island so taking the tram back and forth was a challenge. This is where our program ended for most students. Our last night we all hung out in the hotel lobby together one last time before departing our separate ways the next morning, a memory I will never forget.
A few of my friends and I had decided that our program was not enough time so we decided to stay one more week to travel to a few more places in Northern Italy. We plan to go to Florence, Cinque Terre, and Milan. We have been in Florence for one day now and are enjoying ourselves. It has been nice to sleep in, but all of us agree that it is strange to not have an agenda of things to do. Overall, I highly recommend studying abroad to all those considering, it is such a great learning experience!