Lebanon Valley College Study Abroad Fall 2012

Lebanon Valley College

Fall Break Pre-Departure

My group of friends near the Duomo in Florence (I'm on the far left)

So the past two weeks have been crazy with midterm exams so I’ve been a little preoccupied with my classes. However, fall break is finally here! To make the break even better, Eurochocolate started this past Friday. Eurochocolate is a huge chocolate festival in Perugia that gets thousands of tourists from all over the world! There are hundreds of stands boasting their chocolate, claiming theirs is “the best.” This event truely is a sight that must been seen to believe. My friends and I are leaving for fall break today. We are going to Barcelona for two days, Paris for two days, and Geneva for three days. We were able to find flights for each stop, totaling only 110 euro for all flights. Since I will be traveling, I will not be able to blog, but as soon as I get back I will tell all about my travels!

Till next time!

Transportation in London

Hello again from London,
When most people think about London they tend to picture red double decker buses and telephone booths. From what I have noticed the telephone booths are more of decorations then for actual use because of cell phones. On the other hand, the double decker buses are fully functional and an essential part of London’s transportation service.

There are many different ways to get around in London such as; taxis, walking, buses, bikes, mopeds, and the tube just to name a few. As far as public transportation goes, you can take the tube (subway), bus, or rent a Barclays bike. In my personal opinion I think that the tube is the fastest way to get around. This is partly because I am way too scared to rent a Barclays bike and the buses seem to take forever. For all of you that do not know, a Barclays bike is a bike that you can rent from a docking station by using your credit card. There are many Barclays bike docking stations throughout the city of London and you can rent a bike from any one and then return it to any docking station. Although, I know how this works I am still too scared to rent one of these bikes because I am not used to the cars driving on the opposite side of the road.

Anyways, the main way that I travel is by bus and tube. The transportation here is really easy to use especially if you have an oyster card. An oyster card is a plastic card that’s the same size as a credit card. You can either pay as you go by putting money on your card or you can just buy a weekly, monthly, or yearly pass for specific zones in London. I am centrally located in London so I have been buying a weekly pass for zones one and two. This allows me to travel on the tube within zones one and two and ride the bus anywhere in London. All I need to do is swipe my oyster card to get on the bus and on the tube. Overall, I would say that London has one of the best public transportation systems that I have ever used.

Another amazing weekend!

So this past weekend I traveled to Florence on Friday with my History of Italian Foods class and to Siena on Saturday with my Contemporary Italy class. Both experiences were amazing! Friday we walked around Florence just taking in the sights, yet again for myself, and then we proceeded to go to a chocolate tasting. Easily some of the best chocolate I’ve had in my life! We tried 4 different kinds of chocolate ranging from dark chocolate to creamy chocolate with a slight peanut butter taste. Afterwards we went to Chef Alessi’s restaurant for a 5-course meal centered around old Italian dishes that are not prepared very often in the present day. We enjoy a pasta with walnuts and ginger, which had a very different taste but nevertheless enjoyable. Next was a dish that consisted of potatoes cut up to look like small pieces of pasta (an attempt to get Italians to eat potatoes, which were the ‘poor people’s food’ during the renaissance). The sauce that coupled the potato dish was fantastic! So creamy and just full of flavor! This was our classes favorite dish. The third course was the first of two boar dishes, the first having a chocolate-based sauce, and the second having a peppercorn-based sauce. The first boar dish was amazing! The meat was so tender and everything worked together in harmony. The second boar dish was excellent in my opinion, which was rather opposite of most of my classmates, who do not enjoy strong pepper like I do. The last dish was dessert, which was a small piece of pie coupled with a dollop of pudding. This dessert was so light and airy, but still sweet and filling. It had the perfect balance of flavors and textures and really helped close to an amazing meal.

Saturday I had to get up early and catch a train to Siena so I could meet with my Contemporary Italy class. We visited the chuch of San Domenico and saw the severed finger and head of Saint Catherine, which isn’t the most pleasant sight first thing during the visit. We then learned about the different contradas of Siena and the Palio, which is a huge horse race held every summer between the contradas. It basically represents who is the best contrada and gives the winner bragging rights for the year, however it is taken extremely seriously within Siena. We visited the museum of the eagle contrada and learned of their specific history, which was an amazing feeling to be apart of something that is so entwined into their culture. The rest of our time in Siena was spent just soaking in the sights of the city and seeing how important the Palio is to each contrada (Please my pictures on my facebook page. The pictures from Siena truely represent how important the Palio is to the residents of Siena).

Sunday was spent doing homework, washing clothes and dishes, and making lunch. I was lucky enough to have a friend make dinner for me while we streamed the NFL network from her laptop :) I miss not being able to watch football on a decent TV. The week has gotten off to a good start and I have my Italian midterm exam Thursday. This means that I will have my eyes deep within the pages of my notes going over yet again all the verbs, grammer, nouns, and rules that have been haunting my dreams since I arrived (Haha!). Wish me luck!

Till next time!

American vs British Vocabulary

During the past two weeks I have learned many different English words and phrases. I have been trying to use my new British vocabulary as often as I can to fit in with the locals. However, transitioning from my American phrasing has been really challenging. Although it has been difficult, I really enjoy expanding my vocabulary to gain a better understanding of the English culture. To illustrate some of the different words and phrases English people use I have put together a translated list of American and British words. In future blogs I will try to use my new English vocabulary to give you a better sense of the British culture.

Im in LONDON!!!!

Hi everyone my name is Corine Denny and I am studying abroad in LONDON!!! Currently, I am a junior accounting major at LVC. While I am here in London I will be taking two different psychology classes, one art class, and one business class. I am really lucky because I only have classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Anyways, London is an amazing city! A group of 10 LVC students, including myself, arrived here last Monday around 6 am London time (1 am eastern time). Between the 5 hour time difference and the 7 hour plain ride (which was impossible to sleep on) we were completely exhausted. However, to avoid jet lag we defied our desire to sleep and stayed awake by walking around and exploring our new environment. We made a pact to stay up until 9 pm. It was almost impossible for me to stay awake but I pushed through it and was able to make it to 9 pm. The next morning I woke up relieved to find out my jet lag had faded.

The most interesting thing I have learned so far has to be the cultural differences between the U.S. and the U.K.. Although English is my first language, I feel like I am learning a foreign language over here in England.  For example, they call a line a queue and they call sweat pants tracky bottoms. It has been challenging for me to stop using my American vocabulary and start phrasing things the way a normal British girl would. In my next blog, I will put up a British vocabulary list and explain some of the cultural differences I have noticed.

Talk to you soon  and best wishes from the U.K.

Corine Denny

Assisi

I know it’s been a few days since I last wrote a blog entry, but I’ve been pretty busy with class and quizzes. This past weekend I visited Assis on Saturday to see the Tomb of St. Francis and the local shops and restaurants. The views from the top of Assisi, which sits atop a large hill, were absolutely stunning! If possible, you should check out the Assisi photos on my facebook page (the photos I take are too high of quality to insert in my blog). When we got back from Assisi, a group of 5 of us went out to dinner and enjoyed a fantastic meal. I had 4 cheese gnoochi for the first course and I had steak for the second course. Easily the best meal I’ve had in Perugia so far!!! Today was spent relaxing and finishing homework for tomorrow. I will try to update in the next few days. Till then!

Alex

My Weekend: 9/23/12

So this past weekend I went to Bologna and Florence with six other students from the Umbra program. We had to wake up at 5:00 am to catch a taxi to take us to the train station. It was rather neat calling for the cab because I was able to use the Italian that I have been learning in class and actually perform a useful task. It felt very rewarding and reassured me that I am learning and getting better at absorbing the Italian language and culture. We arrive in Bologna and I was surprised to see that it was more modern than I anticipated. There were a lot of businesses and stores which housed everything that one could imagine. We walked through this huge market that had food, clothes, handbags, shoes, and a variety of trinkets. We walked around the city to just get a feel for how different it was from Perugia. We were able to see the two towers of Bologna, one of which, is leaning. We went to the Tempio San Giacomo Maggiore, which is a huge church with beautiful artwork and just everything that represents Roman Catholic religion. Some other sites that we saw include a memorial for a bombing that occurred in Bologna, a huge fountain portraying the god Neptune, and the ruins of Bologna. All of these were very cool and worth seeing. For lunch we decided and eat at this restaurant called Bluca Manzoni. The waiter was extremely generous and he encouraged to use only Italian, which we did. I had tortellini ostello, which is based on a famous Bolognese chef. It was out of this world!!! So delicious! The owner of the restaurant even came up to us and conversed with us and gave us two pamphlets on Bologna so we wouldn’t have any trouble getting around the city. The rest of the time in Bologna was spent shopping (you must understand that our group consisted of two guys and five girls, so of course we shopped).

Our train ride from Bologna to Florence was very nice and rather short. We arrived in Florence in the dark, which is always tougher to navigate around the city. Having a vast background in orientation and maps, I was designated the guide/leader of the group. We find the hostel and check in, but unfortunately it was full for the second night so we did some research for another hostel within walking distance.  We booked another hostel and decided to go out for a little and found a nice place called The Fish Pub, with great music and a good drink menu.  Saturday we get up and start heading across the city to the next hostel, me leading everyone through the maze called Florence.  Unfortunately, this hostel does not exist and we are forced to just come home Saturday night after seeing everything.  The first thing we went to was the Uffizi, which is a huge collection of marble busts and religious paintings.  It was a rather big hassle to get inside because it was so crowded with tourists.  Nevertheless, it was definitely worth the wait.  Then we walked to see the Duomo of Firenze, which is the dome that is an icon of Florence.  The rest of our day was spent walking around the city and just trying to see as much as we could.  We walked through the leather markets while the girls shopped and the two guys followed in awe.  After we had had our fair share of sightseeing, we decided to catch the train home to Perugia.

The trip was a blast and I wouldn’t have changed anything, except maybe being able to stay another night (we had an amazing dinner reservation at THE best steak restaurant in Florence, but had to cancel).  I know I wrote a novel for such a short trip but I just want to explain everything that happened and how much we were able to see during our expedition.

Till next time,

Alex

ps. My photos are too big to upload on my blog so if you would like to see pictures, they will be on my facebook page asap.

Monday!

So this weekend was a lot of fun! A lot of the students from Umbra went on a field trip organized through Arcadia University, but since I wasn’t through their program, I was not required to go. Instead, my roommate and I worked on homework and walked around Perugia. A group of us then went to the National Gallery of Umbria, which houses some of the most amazing artifacts from Perugia’s history. We saw a lot of pieces, mostly from cathedrals throughout history. Some of the pieces date back to the early 1300′s and the gallery includes artifacts though the late 1700′s. It was really neat to see how the style of art changed between eras. The rest of my weekend was fun, we went out each night and made some new friends with some local Italian students and we were able to work on speaking Italian, which is always good. I’m done with my classes for the day and I am trying to order train tickets so a group of us can take a trip to Bologna and Florence for next weekend, but it is rather frustrating. Hopefully everything will work out! Till next time, thanks.

Alex

Hello from Perugia!

Perugia

Wow! I can’t think of any other words to express how I am feeling when I look around at what surrounds me. My name is Alex Garlick and I am a junior Physical Therapy major/ Sociology minor student at Lebanon Valley College. I took this opportunity to study abroad because I knew I would not get a chance like this until later in life. I chose to study in Perugia because I wanted to learn Italian and I thought, ‘What better way to learn the language?’ Let’s be honest, the food is definitely not an issue either! I have been in Italy since August 31st so I have so much to say but I’ll try to keep it to a short story rather than a novel (those who know me well know that I tend to take forever to tell stories, due to the fact that I include every single detail). The first week of living in Italy came with its ups and downs, just like anywhere else in the world. Intensive Italian classes came with confusion, frustration, and curiousity of ‘how am I EVER going to learn this language well enough to speak with the locals?’ Classes officially started this past Monday, the 10th, and I am enrolled in four courses totalling 15 credits. I am taking Contemporary Italy: Culture and Society, the History and Culture of Italian Food, Photography, and of course Italian. I am making a lot of new friends and my roommates are some of the greatest guys ever. I know that when I am able, I will be flying out to Colorado to visit them. After such a short period of time, I can tell that this experience will be one of the best decisions I have ever made and I am only getting started. I will try to update my journey about three times a week so it can have some chronological order to it. I am not exactly sure how blogs work, but feel free to leave me comments and questions about anything! I am doing this so that I can help anyone thinking about studying abroad and give them guidance with how life is in a foreign country. Hopefully this hasn’t bored you to death and you are able to follow my thoughts. I will end this first blog entry with a photo that I took on the first day that we arrived in Perugia and I hope you enjoy!

Thanks,
Alex