Andrew Sparks ’11 – I am still dumbfounded that I have already studied in Perugia for a full month, and it has been a month that I will never forget.

The city of Perugia is nestled in the hills of the region Umbra in the center of Italy. The relatively small population of 100,000 allows for a student to become fully immersed into the life of the historic city. Perugia is well known for its historic architecture, as well as the many cultural events. The city hosts a world renowned Jazz Festival in the month of July, and the Euro Chocolate festival in October. It is commonly known as the “University City” because it is home to three universities that host 40,000 Italian and foreign students.

The nightlife is another unique aspect of the city of Perugia. The heart of the city’s nightlife is the famous Piazza IV Novembre al Tramento. The steps of the city’s Duomo that look over the piazza come alive at 8 o’clock with people socialize and preparing for the nights events. This is a particular favorite spot for the students to meet up before going out to one of the many restaurants or bars in the city. The nights out usually do not start until after 11 because dinner in Italy usually starts around 8:30, and usually lasts for about and hour and a half. This allows for great conversation and a chance to enjoy the delicious Italian cuisine.

Perugia is also home to a class C soccer team, and a class B Rugby team. I had the privilege to practice with the city’s professional rugby team a few weeks ago. This was the first time I ever played rugby, and it didn’t help that the majority of the team spoke only Italian. I eventually got the hang of it, and finished the day with a few tackles as well as some new friends. Playing with the team was an amazing experience, and I will be practicing with them in the future when I have the time.

Umbra University provides a diverse list of courses that have some sort of Italian aspect. My courses include Italian 101, Survey of the Italian Renaissance Art, The Art of Leonardo da Vinci, and the History of the Roman Empire. Each course provides a weekend trip that will allow us to personally observe the material covered in class. This is certain to enhance my understanding of each subject, and will allow me to see artwork and building that I have dreamed about seeing. I am very excited to learn about Italy’s rich history and culture!

I am truly blessed to have the ability to study abroad this semester. I would highly recommend to all Wabash students to take the opportunity to study abroad.


In Photos: Top right, Sparks with other Umbra students visiting Florence. Bottom left, a view of Perugia from Sparks apartment.