Balancing Books & Bags

Written by mekennaearnhart June 9, 2022

Ciao friends!! 

I am now a month into being abroad and two weeks into being at CIMBA! It for sure was a big adjustment going from traveling abroad on vacation to studying and traveling abroad at the same time! Before the CIMBA program started, I spent a week in London and a week in Paris with not a care in the world – other than what cute cafe I should pick for breakfast. London was amazing!! I am now a master of the train system and I like to think the British accent also…

Everyone in London is so welcoming. I got to see Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, and so much more. In Paris, I fell in love with the city and the culture. I went to the Louvre and saw the Mona Lisa, sat on the lawn outside of the Eiffel Tower, had macaroons at the original macaroon shop, visited the original Hermès & Louis Vuitton headquarters, and grew my palette for wine. My friends and I like to call these sort of trips “power trips” because we manage to fit everything we want to see and do into a few days. Cramming all of this into a few days can be hard but it is so worth it. I had such an amazing time on these two trips that I became so stressed wondering how will I do and see everything I want to when CIMBA starts!

My biggest concern was how I would balance all the travel I wanted to do while maintaining good grades. During my two weekends at CIMBA so far, I have traveled to Lake Como for my first weekend and Rome for my second weekend. During my school weeks, I go into the local towns of Bassano and Asolo as well as wherever my weekly field trips take me with my class!

The professors at CIMBA are amazing, they are very encouraging of us traveling to other places around Italy on our weekends as well as the local towns during the school week. They do not flood us with homework on the weekends which is nice because so much of studying abroad is learning how to be in the moment and saying yes to every opportunity. My stress of “missing out” on the abroad experience and only being able to do the “study” side completely faded on the first Monday of CIMBA when a group of my friends and I began planning our trip to Rome while sitting at a local Italian restaurant in Asolo.

Study abroad is so much more than studying your workbooks – it is studying the culture, the way of life, and most importantly studying, who you are as a person. During the week, as soon as I get out of class, I take an hour or two and complete whatever homework I have whether it be readings for my Greek Mythology class or worksheets for my Italy Live class. Homework is a lot more fun when it is accompanied by the views of mountains and vineyards. After homework, I get ready to hit the town with my friends. Bassano is a quick 20-minute bus ride and has amazing food, bars, and shopping. Asolo is a 10-minute bus ride and is enriched with so much history – it truly is amazing. I have realized how much more attentive I am now while traveling thanks to the things I have learned in my classes. Starting school did not take away from my travel experience like I thought it would. It did the exact opposite and enriched it.


Ciao for now,