Halfway There

Written by jessicaboucher March 12, 2024

The past three weeks here in Italy have been a whirlwind of excitement, stress, and a whole lot of chaos. These three words can accurately describe studying abroad as a whole, but they are particularly precise when it comes to describing midterms and spring break.

Two weeks ago, we entered the dreaded midway point of the semester. Just like at home, this was a pretty stressful time since we were all loaded up with assignments and exams. Admittedly, before coming here I had low expectations for the difficulty of the academic aspect of study abroad. I had assumed that since I would be doing school in a foreign country, the focus would be less on the study, and more on the abroad.

While it is true that I have been extremely fortunate to have many opportunities to travel and see new places, the academics have been much more challenging than I expected. This may sound a bit ridiculous, since it is “study abroad” after all, but I’m just being honest here.

I know that I, as well as many of my classmates, felt pretty overwhelmed with everything that we had going on between midterms and spring break which is why my blog today will describe that experience.


For the two weeks before spring break, I had several assignments, quizzes, and exams. Each day, I dedicated a lot of time to working on my homework and studying for my exams. I began to feel extremely overwhelmed since I had very limited free time for myself outside of my school work.

Since UConn does not accept transfer credits from abroad as Pass/Fail, I knew that I needed to do my best on these exams so that I could maintain the GPA I have worked for over the past 2 ½ years. This caused me to put a lot of pressure on myself and induced a lot of stress. However, as I was doing this, I just kept reminding myself that I had dealt with midterm stress several times before, and if I got through it then, I could manage now.

On top of the stress of midterms, spring break was rapidly approaching, and knowing that I needed to start preparing for this felt like an added component of stress. I knew that as much as I wanted to focus on my travel plans, I needed to make school my main priority for the time being.

While I have yet to receive any feedback or grades for my work, I am confident that my hard work will pay off and I will receive the grades I deserve. It was a very stressful two weeks for us students, but we all managed to get through it and were rewarded with a wonderful week-long break to travel.

Spring Break

On March 1st, our highly anticipated spring break began. We were all thrilled to have the chance to get away from campus for a week, and not worry about any tests or assignments.

Having a full week to travel, rather than only a few days, opened the door for us to see lots of places and go further than we are usually able to. My itinerary included Barcelona, Nice, and Genoa. We spent about 2.5 days in each location, which was more than enough for Nice and Genoa, but we could have used one extra day in Barcelona.

Barcelona was an incredibly lively city, with amazing attractions such as La Sagrada Familia which was one of the most amazing buildings I have ever stepped foot in. My favorite thing about Barcelona was the atmosphere, with people all over, and street music on every corner you turn.

Nice was a more relaxing destination, but I think it may have been my favorite of the three places we visited. There were fresh fruit and flower markets every morning, incredible views, and we were lucky enough to have amazing weather.

Finally, Genoa was a cool city, but not what I expected. For starters, Genoa is 2.5x the size of Barcelona… nearly the size of Brooklyn, NY. It was way bigger than we expected, which threw us for a loop. However, as one of Italy’s oldest cities, there was a lot of fascinating history and it was still a very interesting visit.

I had an incredible week, and I enjoyed every second of it. Somehow it flew by and I can hardly believe that I am already back on campus. As sad as I am that it is over, it is also nice to return to a place where I feel a sense of stability and belonging.

Now it is time to get myself back into the groove of school (which I am honestly not excited about) and prepare myself for the week to come. I cannot believe that we have already made it halfway through the semester. Even with more than a month left, I am sad to imagine it being over.


Ciao for now,