Adventure Is Out There
Written by Kayla May 26, 2015
Ciao from Italy! I made it safely to Paderno del Grappa and am enjoying the beauty of Northern Italy. I have been here just shy of a week and have already done and seen so many things. One thing that really surprised me was the travel opportunities offered by the CIMBA program. Previously, I had been under the impression that there would not be many opportunities for travel during the week, and that weekend trips would be entirely self-planned.
I have already had the opportunity to visit Cinque Terre (5 Cities that are on the coast), Bassano, Asolo, and the local mall in my first week in Italy. CIMBA classes are assigned to blocks and every student has two blocks on and one block off. Once a week students will have an afternoon off and are provided with several activities and trips to sign up for. In addition to being able to explore Italy during the off block, there are also trips and activities that are offered at night after classes have concluded. My classes are a bit overwhelming with traveling, but most students find their schedules very manageable. Most professors are extremely conscious about not giving us work to complete over the weekends so that we may fully enjoy our travel experience.
After my first week in the CIMBA program my top two pieces of advice are to: First, travel with a large group for your first weekend trip. Between all of you someone will know how to solve or avoid any problems that you may be faced with. I traveled with 15 people to Cinque Terre this past weekend and thanks to our large group, everything ran very smoothly and we all have a few new friends. Navigating a train station when none of you speak the language (other than yes, no, please, and bathroom) really has a way of bringing people closer. After we had such a fun-filled weekend, we are planning on traveling together for future weekend trips. My second piece of advice is to be flexible. Being in Italy is an amazing experience, but it is guaranteed that everything will not always go according to plan. For example, when we were planning our weekend trip and searching for lodging we were having a very difficult time. There were no vacancies in any of the five cities so we had to get a hotel in a nearby town, which we were very bummed about. Fortunately, this worked out amazingly for us. Our location ended up being very near the train station and it was a much less touristy, which gave us a more authentic Italian experience. Things may not end up exactly how you had wanted then to but just remember that YOU ARE IN ITALY; you are going to have an incredible time no matter what.
My first week as a Cimbian has certainly been one for the books. I have learned so much both in and out of the classroom; in addition I have made memories and friends that will last long past these short four weeks. This upcoming week is bound to be busy between homework, projects, cooking classes, weekday trips, and planning our next weekend trip to Rome! I cannot wait to experience more of what CIMBA and all of Italy have to offer. Until next time!