How to Make CIMBA Your New Home
Written by Connery September 23, 2015
Any transition is hard, but going from a Nomad traveling across Europe to being a student takes it to a completely new level. Even with my advantage of being used to the time zone, I still had my hiccups. However, the first week I’ve been here has been an excellent start to the pace of my semester with CIMBA. As much as I want to go explore the country every day, I’ve found ways to make it fun to explore Paderno del Grappa.
Get to Know Your Classmates: This should be pretty obvious, but I’ll say it. Getting to know who you’re living with is a great thing to do right off the bat. If everything goes well, you’ll be able to make great friends and find out who wants to travel where you want to go, plus and you’ll be able to share the planning load with them and make it even more fun. Not even a week into my time in Italy, and I’ve already made great friends – who I never knew before Monday, and we’ve already planned a few weekend trips together.
Get to Know Your Professors: As in America, if you have the chance, get to know your professors on a personal level. It’s especially crucial when your class size can be as small as 7 people, since the professor will know your name within a couple weeks of meeting you. The quicker you know your professor on a personal level, the quicker you will be able to have a great educational experience. In fact, many of them here at CIMBA will host hikes/runs like Prof. Simone. It’s a great way to get to know your professors at the campus, especially if you don’t have them for a class.
Get to Know the Locals: Even if they’re fellow Americans, or you’ve known them your whole life, this is something that you should do when you’re somewhere new. This is especially prevalent when you’re going from traveling. Thankfully Paderno del Grappa is very welcoming of us American students in their village. My favorite example is actually the owner of the grocery store by CIMBA named Diego. I only went in once and he was extremely friendly, and actually helped me find a place to get a haircut, as well as letting me try some local salami.
Engage in Campus-led Activities: This is definitely a great way to not only get to know your classmates, but to see what similar interests you have with them. Not only that, but since CIMBA is being hosted by a small village in Italy, it’s easy to get to know the locals, and ask them where to do other things. Not only that but Alberto (front gate guard) will arrange events almost every weekend. The first weekend we were in Italy, Alberto had us go to the Palermo vs. Milan Football (soccer) game. Simply put, AWESOME experience whether you like Football or not.
Resist the Urge to Skip Class and Explore Europe: This one is the difficult one. It’s hard sitting in a classroom for 2 hours at a time and not wanting to go out and explore your new surroundings, especially when it’s a completely new continent. However, you need to resist the urge, especially when the grades from the study abroad experience transfer back to your home university. As much as I want to complain about it, CIMBA is smart with their policy on skipping classes. If they didn’t have those posted, many of us wouldn’t attend classes, and our grades wouldn’t be as great as we wanted.
Overall, it’s definitely different going from a normal summer break to a fall semester transition, but it is doable. You just need to realize that although you’re going to work your tail off for good grades, you will have more than enough time to travel to all those places that you desperately want to explore, and make sure you explore close to where you study as well. Those places will be your home for your time there, and you’ll love coming back. What you put into your time at CIMBA, or Studying Abroad in general, you will get it back tenfold.
“Study Not What the World is Doing, but What You Can Do For It.” – Anonymous