19 November 2013

Rain Rain Go Away…

Trieste is very rainy. I would say that it rains five out of seven days but always on days I have class first thing in the morning. When it’s not raining, it’s windy. The wind here in Trieste is named Bora. During the winter it gets so windy here that people can hardly walk, buses cannot drive up the step streets, and trashcans slide into the road. Bora is only beginning now in November. Last week it was so windy, I didn’t go outside the majority of the day because I could hardly walk in it. A funny thought I had was that what if instead of snow days like we have in Colorado, they have wind days, where school is canceled. I don’t know if that happens here, but I could believe it because the shutters can hardly block out the noise tunneling through the narrow streets.

Today it rained. I didn’t have class until 2:30, my beginners’ Italian course. Being almost done with classes, this class has been the hardest for me. Learning to speak and write a language in eight weeks is difficult. I have people in my class from Turkey, Poland, Spain, Romania, Africa and fellow Americans. Maybe it is difficult because the only common language we have in the room is English yet the professor doesn’t know English very well so she speaks only in Italian to explain everything. I guess I jumped both feet at the same time into the language.

Academics here are very interesting. I was so used to either MWF classes or TR classes back at UNC, but here I have a combination of MF, MT, TR, WT with each class lasting either 2.5 hours 3 hours or 4 hours but a 10-15 minutes break every hour where you can either grab some coffee, a smoke break, or eat a snack. The first two weeks here I thought it was ridiculous to pause class to drink coffee but now I enjoy a nice break where my brain doesn’t have to pay attention to anything. I am going to miss my breaks in class when I return to UNC but then again, my classes are no where near four hours long, not even my studio art classes are longer than three hours. Of course in art class, we take breaks for coffee because one can only print in the darkroom for so many hours at a time.

Here in Trieste I am taking four courses: Intellectual Property Rights, Entrepreneurial Finance, Marketing and Innovations, and Italian language. I think the most exciting part of any of the classes is that I am the foreigner in the room. 99% of my classes, besides Italian where we are all foreigners, are from Italy. 95% of the students from Italy are from Trieste or small towns near by. There is a Russian, two girls from Slovenia, a guy from Taiwan and two students from Africa (I’m not sure of which country in Africa). I have always envied exchange students ever since I met my first friends from around the world my Junior year in High School but now I was walking in their shoes and being around the world studying.

If I had one piece of advice for students in college is take the opportunity to get out into the world. Not just studying in a different state, but to study abroad. I have learned so much just being away from home. Yes I do miss home, but home is where the heart is. Very cliché, but it’s true. My heart is here in Italy right now but it is also back in good ol’ Greeley, Colorado where my family is. I have made a nice little home here where at the end of the day, I can take off my shoes and know that I am comfortable. Also, advice for anyone studying abroad, make sure you travel outside of the country you are living in, especially if you are in Europe. Europe is a little bit bigger than the state of Texas.  Take advantage of being here. Not many people get to say that they lived in a different country for either a semester or a year to study. I am lucky that I have traveled with someone who knows how to get around. So far I have been to Dublin, Galway, London, Amsterdam, Bremen, Hamburg, Venice, Trieste, Muggia, Collio, Florence, Bologna, CinqueTerra, Pisa, and Rome. I am still going back to Venice, Bologna, and Florence and then after the semester ends I am going to Prague, Ansbach, Paris, and Brussels and back to Dublin. In total of 16 weeks, I will have been to eight countries. I only wish that I could go to more, but I still have the rest of my life ahead of me.

I am ready for the next six weeks of my journey here in Europe.



  1. Hannah, it sounds like you are having a wonderful time. I have really enjoyed reading your blog and have shared a few clips of it with my students in hsitory class. I used one of your paragraphs to explain description writing :) Your pictures are fun to scroll through as well and I can only imagine the experience you are gaining over there as you study. I give high reguards to people like you, my sisiter and a handful of my friends who have that fire inside of them to try new things and step out of your comfort zone to follow a dream; it is very inspiring to watch you all do this.
    I haven't met the little monkey yet, and I bet you are most excited to see him when you return. Enjoy those long classes and lovely coffee breaks and I look forward to the next chapters of this journey you are embarking on. Nicolette loved Paris so I can't wait to hear what you think about it.
    Safe travels,

    1. Katerina, I am having a wonderful time here! It really is something quite different living across seas! I am ready to come home to meet the newest member of the family, but at the same time I want to take my time here and enjoy what little I have left! Thank you!