Lebanon Valley College Study Abroad Fall 2012

Lebanon Valley College

Home Stateside Once Again!

First of all, I would like to appologize for taking to long after the end of the semester to post my last blog that I had promised.  My only intent was to see the effects of the culture shock when returning to the United States.  Everything that I have experience has been so different.

So in case you don’t remember, I had said in my last blog that I was traveling to Rome my last weekend to see a Roma vs. Fiorintino football match (soccer game).  I ended up going with one of my roommates and a friend of his that finished her semester early (she was studying in Southern Africa).  So the three of us ventured off to Rome for our last weekend in Europe.  The whole weekend was emotional to say the least.  Two other friends came with us, to make five total, however, they just came for the sights of Rome.  The soccer game….oh my the soccer game…I have never seen such an event in my life.  The game was easily the COOLEST event I participated in while abroad!  Simply the atmostphere of the stadium just electrifies you, and you feel part of the team, part of the home crowd, part of ROMA!!!  Since soccer is so popular in Europe it is understandable why people get so worked up over what seems like a simple goal.  However, during each Roma goal, every single person in the stadium, minus the Fiorintino fans, would leap out of their seats and erupt in applause.  Please believe me when I say that you have never felt more alive than when you are surrounded by Italians cheering for their favorite “calcio” team.  Anyway, that was such an experience that I seriously have trouble typing exactly how I felt about it.

Rome was a very nice city.  It is simply a tourist city, obviously.  I really did enjoy the sights, however I did not enjoy the vast numbers of people.  The sights in Rome are rather trademark of Italy as well as rather self explanitory.  Therefore, I won’t waste time telling you about sights that have been talked about thousands of times.

I will simply move on to my last section of the semester, how I felt about my entire experience while abroad.  Studying abroad was simply the most terrifying, exciting, life-changing, eye-opening, wonderful experience of my life.  I understand that others before me have said the exact same thing, but I now understand why, because it is true!!!  I was scared because when first arriving, I knew very little Italian and hearing others speak it around me made me feel very uncomfortable, but excited to learn it as fast as I could.  The whole idea of being in another culture took a while to sink in with me.  After about three weeks of living in Italy, I was able to understand the daily routine that most Italians practiced.  My Italian became better and I was able to interact with other Italians on a daily basis.  My classes, especially Italian, really helped me with the Italian culture and what to expect of things and what not to expect.  Being involved with such a small school like Umbra Institute allowed me to make so many new friends, rather than just fit into a mold of many students.  My class only had around 80 students and I know that I became good friends with at least 50 of them.  Having new friends helped my experience because they were able to help me through the rough times and they made the good times even better.  I know that I will have some friends that I will keep for life, especially some of my roommates.  I am so pleased with everything that I learned while studying in Italy.  I know this is a huge commitment and everything seems so far out of reach.  I say that if you are on the fence about studying abroad, wherever you choose, you should!  I guarentee that you will not find another experience elsewhere, like the one you will have while abroad!  I have made some life-long friends, learned some valuable information about other cultures, and learned even more about myself.  Don’t waste time thinking about studying abroad, JUST DO IT!

Thanks again,

Alexander Garlick

Hampstead

Hello again from London,

Last night I attended my first ever pub crawl. Pub Crawls are very popular in London especially around holidays. The crawl I went to was organized by the club rugby team that I have been playing for since I arrived in London. Every year the Hampstead Rugby Club organizes a big pub crawl to raise money for charity. This year we raised money for a children’s hospital.

The pub crawl was a Christmas themed event where everyone wore a costume that related to the holidays in some way. The crawl consisted of 8 different pubs which ended at The White Horse which is a local pub and our club house. Signing up for the crawl took place at the first pub. Once all of the money was collected we proceeded to the next pub and eventually made our way through the list of pubs. Just before we left each pub we made sure to sing different Christmas Carols as a large group. We were able to raise a lot of money and really helped the local community.

Switzerland

Hello again from London,

Last week I visited Switzerland which I must say was probably one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been to in my life. In addition to the aesthetics of the area, Switzerland was also one of the coldest places I have ever been to. While I was there, the temperature dipped into the lower teens. At one point it was 8 degrees Fahrenheit with 18 mph winds. It was so COLD!

While I was visiting the beautiful mountains country I seized the opportunity to go on a mountain tour. When I first started the tour it was in the middle of a blizzard which made it very difficult to see and take good pictures. However, once I reached the top of Mount Pilatus the weather began to clear up. On the way back down the mountain I was able to shoot some of the most fantastic photos. If you are in Europe make sure you visit Switzerland it’s an amazing place!

 

December Already!

So it has been a while since my last entry. Classes have been pretty crazy lately with papers, exams, and presentations. I only have 10 short days left in this amazing city! I have been trying to make the best of them and really connect with the Italian friends that I have made over recent weeks. I have not done any traveling since Copenhagen, but I am planning on traveling to Rome this coming weekend with some friends to see a soccer game. Rome is playing against Florence, which should be a good match. I will stay behind after the match to see the rest of Rome since I haven’t even been there yet! I’m currently in the last week of classes. I have my Italian final exam this Friday and then I have two finals next week. I am also participating in an art show with my photo class where we will present some of our best photos. I am looking forward to the last days. I will make sure to write one last entry before I leave to give my final thoughts and feelings on this amazing journey.

Till next time,
Alex