Via de Nicola, ERASMUS, Piacere, & More!

Torre del Mangia

Ciao! It’s wednesday morning and I realized that internet access is best in the mornings! I have finally settled in at Siena and I promise to be posting more regularly from now on 🙂

As a short recap, Sunday was rather hectic. I almost missed my train from Venice to Florence. The train took off as I was catching my breath at my seat (which also turned out to be the wrong seat altogether). In any case, the ride to Florence Rifredi was okay. On the second leg of my trip, from Florence to Siena, I found myself in the company of four American girls from Northwestern University who were also going to study in Siena! At that point I felt more at ease since I wasn’t actually traveling alone. I also realized my own physical capabilities (thanks to my “training period” back home for my tour of Europe trip) when I helped them carry their luggage up and down the stairs to get out of the station.

After leaving them to get onto my bus to the dorm, I luckily met other students Susana (who is now my roommate!) from Spain, and Michael from Poland! Check-in was apparently first come first service so Michael wound up being our next door neighbor and we are all staying on the first floor at Via de Nicola. The dorm we’re at is actually quite far out of the city center and we found out that all the stores were closed. With a few other students, we went back to the train station where there is a supermarket (ca socializing lled Pam) open until 10, and we walked 20min to get down because there were no busses operating on Sunday night. I’ve been their at least once everyday so far just to buy fruit, snacks, and other foods–it has almost everything and a mix of high and low end food items.

Monday and Tuesday was a mix of, settling in, and getting registered at the university.

A majority of the UNISTRASI students I befriended are European and on a pre-ERASMUS program. Basically they are taking an Italian language course to help them acclimate to a year abroad in Italy. In September, they will be going to Milan, Rome, Trieste, Turin, etc. Surprisingly, I haven’t met any American students studying here who are going through an American school, and I feel special as the only Asian-American (at least to my knowledge)! I guess it’s safe to say that from here on, Susana and Michael have become two of my closest friends on the trip and it feels quite natural to befriend European students because they speak English well. Most of the time, I’m the only Asian/American with a group of Polish, Spanish, Swedish, French and German students but I haven’t ever felt out of place since everyone comes from a different background in Europe as well and we are all trying to understand each other better.

At the university, I am following the regular course for Italian language studies. Professor Marco Cassandro is very nice and helpful. I can now say “piacere”–which is “it’s a pleasure meeting you!” The regular course is basically for students who are interested in Italian studies and are not doing it through a particular program. (The Erasmus students take their own specialized classes. I also saw a program where Chinese students take specialized classes as well.) I was pleasantly surprised to see two Asians in my class: Patrick, who is Filipino and studying his masters at a Korea university, and Sun, who is also from Korea!

 

Friday Update: As it turns out, the internet has its high and low points throughout the day–with just a bit of sarcasm, I’d like to say that this is just fantastic! But there is a window of opportunity for accessing the computer lab at UNISTRASI from 1-2pm so I will try  (again no, promises) to upload some great content as much as possible and hopefully pictures too 🙂

 

Siena suburbs

UNISTRASI via the dorm

UNISTRASI via the dorms 3

The Mall/Unistrasi building

The front of Unistrasi

Pam supermarket

Student diet

Student sandwich

Out to il campo

Cafe

Inscription on a coffee table

Canteen dinner

 

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