David Rosborough – Before I left for Italy earlier this month, so many thoughts were rushing through my head. Did I forget anything? What is the lifestyle like? In my mind, traveling is an important part of our maturing process. The amount of organization and planning is very time consuming, but also proves that we have what it takes to survive in a totally different culture thousands of miles from home. I knew that the rigorous study abroad process had finally paid off as we sat at JFK airport in New York awaiting an experience that would impact our lives from here on out…
Situated atop one of the many hills in the Italian countryside lies the town of Perugia, where the Etruscans had once resided. Almost everywhere you look, the influence of this ancient culture is evident. Aside from the beautiful panoramas and plethora of historical landmarks, one of my favorite aspects of the trip has been interacting with the people. Never would I have thought that a trip to the grocery store could be so interesting. Our landlady, Signora Assunta, is also a really nice person (or at least we think she is, considering the only English she knows is “very good, very good”).
One of the many perks that comes with studying abroad in Italy is soccer, or “calcio” as they call it here. Whenever there is a match, Italians flock to nearby restaurants, bars and caffes to root for their favorite team. I think my Frommer’s travel guide explained it best: imagine the Super Bowl in the US, throw in some drama and multiply that by a factor of ten and you get a sense of how Italians feel about the national sport. As a member of the Varsity Soccer program at Wabash, this environment is perfect. It only took about 3 days after arriving in Perugia before meeting some guys who invited me to play. Twice a week, Sunday and Tuesday, we meet in the center of town and arrange transportation to nearby soccer complexes and play for a few hours. I can’t help but smile when I consider the fact that im actually playing in Italy. However, you have to bring your “gameface” to every match or else there will be 6 or 7 Italian players arguing and screaming at you. Fortunately, I seem to hold my own but its so interesting to compare our culture to theirs in this aspect. In the US, we get a pat on the back followed by a “good job, you’ll get it next time” or “its okay, you did your best”. In Italy, they will yell, scream, and argue until your mistakes are perfected because they have such great passion for the sport.
On a different note, I’ve also had the opportunity to travel a bit and see some places outside of Perugia. The first weekend we took a train to Assisi and saw Saint Francis’ Basilica. The following weekend, I took a bus with a few of my roommates to Siena which was another amazing experience. Although the weather was a bit sloppy, we still explored much of the medieval town, including one of the finest Gothic Cathedrals and one of the most impressive Palazzos remaining in Italy today. Not a bad way to spend the first two weekends!
I plan to continue traveling around so I can see more of the art and architecture, but that’s all I’ve got for now. Studying abroad in Perugia, Italy has been an amazing experience thus far and would definitely recommend it to any Wabash man. Ciao!