Arrivederci Seattle, Ciao Paderno!

Written by Morganne September 14, 2012

Ciao! It’s my seventh full day here in Paderno del Grappa and I am already loving it.

Me standing by the entrance to campus

After a full 24 hours worth of travel from Seattle to Venice on Sunday-Monday, I couldn’t have been happier to finally arrive on campus. Little did I know how quickly things were going to start—the second we got off the bus, we checked in with the CIMBA staff, took a campus tour, and then had a quick orientation. Classes started the very next morning! (Much to everyone’s surprise.)

Our first two weeks on campus are jam-packed with orientation activities, classes, and the LIFE leadership program (which was incredibly eye-opening!). The philosophy of the CIMBA program, so eloquently put by one of my professors: “Work hard. Play hard.” With a full course load consisting of International Marketing, Business, Culture and Society, Journalism Ethics, Entrepreneurial Strategy, and Italian for Travelers, I definitely agree with this philosophy.

Something I’ve found myself really enjoying here is the fact that the majority of the students are from the Midwest or East Coast. In fact, the only two west coast schools represented are University of Oregon and University of Colorado Boulder. It’s so funny to see the differences between us westerners and easterners, like the fact that multiple people have pronounced Oregon “or-gone.” I find it so funny. It’s also very cool to hear about life on the other side of the Rockies. Not only am I getting an international education, but a broadened American one as well!

Other random things I’ve discovered/experienced thus far:

(1) Italians drive SO fast. The streets here are very narrow with no side lanes for bikers or people. Just crossing the street to go to the Tabacchi (Italian version of a convenience store), you have to watch carefully for cars whizzing by at 40+ miles per hour. And I thought Americans drove fast!

(2) Mosquitos are 100 times worse here and I should have packed Cortisone. I can’t seem to find anti-itch creme here in Paderno, let alone decipher the labels.

(3) When it rains, it POURS. The first two days here were gorgeous, sunny, 80+ degrees. But Wednesday it suddenly DOWNPOURED and all of us were caught in shorts and flip flops walking to class. It was quite the scene. Never again can I complain about the rain in Eugene!

(4) There’s no such thing as free water, much to my disappointment. Luckily in the dorms we get water (and only water) with every meal, except the glasses they provide are kid size. Everyone has to refill their glass at least 5 times during every meal. We get a kick out of it.

(5) Cheese is acceptable as a side dish during meals. The other night at dinner they served cooked mozzarella cheese, just by itself! It looked like someone had pulled the topping off an American-style cheese pizza and put it on a plate. It totally grossed me out.

Told you Italians love their cheese.

(7) The bathrooms at all the restaurants I’ve been to so far are set up very differently than in America. Both genders walk into the same toilette to find a common sink area and two more doors to a male and female stall. When I first experienced this I thought I walked into the men’s bathroom!

(8) Italians, at least the ones in the North, are very in shape. I have not seen an overweight person yet and when we hiked Mount Grappa yesterday, all the Italians we passed on the trail were cruising along with their walking sticks and hiking boots. Little did we know that we were embarking on a 6 hour trip up and down a 6000ft mountain. We looked like total wussies compared to the experienced and equipped Italians. What a trek!

Beautiful Mount Grappa (it's a 10 minute drive from campus and I can see it out my dorm window!)

If I’ve learned this much in only three days time, I can’t imagine how much is in store for 3 months worth. I can’t wait! 🙂