My new semester at OU in Arezzo
by Torey Henderson
We were met with ease by the staff at OUA, who answered all of our questions and showed us around town. We found different places to eat lunch, shop, and walk around town, from walking to Piazza Grande down Corso Italia. We noticed that Piazzas are typical for people to sit and hang out, eat lunch - something we as students often do.
Our first week here, we had orientation, where we learned a little about everything- from class schedule, safety, our new home in Arezzo, and got to bond with everyone in our class. For me, this was my second time here with OUA - the last time I was here was in the Spring of 2020, a much different time. However, Arezzo is very much the same place that felt like home, so returning was something I was looking forward to.
Last time, because I came during the spring semester, I got to see the end of the Christmas decoration, a cold, snowy Arezzo and one that was opening back up after the Christmas holiday. This time we were arriving while it was warm and towards the end of September. It recently just started to get cold, but we can still wear comfortable summer/fall clothes. Except for the recent weeks when it finally began to get out, and we all rushed to look for good coats and sweaters.
As for school, we all are adjusting to starting our classes and getting into a routine. This semester we were offered several classes, ranging from Italian, Italian Cinema, Mediterranean Route (art and human trafficking), Italian Culture, Art History, and Internships that we could take part in. Every student is in at least an Italian class.
I am taking Italian culture, art history and completing an internship with OU in Arezzo. Each class has already taught me so many things. One of the “hardest” adjustments was getting back into thinking about school and completing our assignments. However, it is much easier to make art history while in Italy than in Norman! For example, we have multiple class trips to Florence, one to Rome and Siena each. We can look at art with our visits while hearing lectures from Professor Duclaux about the history of art and stories of the artists with it.
We are beginning to take more day trips and weekend trips; some have gone to Prague, Florence, Orvieto, Venice, Cortona and Cinque Terre, following our first-class trip to Sorrento and Capri.
This time while studying here, I have visited Florence, Orvieto, Cortona and most recently two towns in the Cinque Terre area: Monterosso al Mare and Manarola. Each town has stood out to me in diverse ways. In Orvieto the kindness of the shop owners who would tell us about the things they created, in Cortona the number of different alleys that led up to the top of the city or down to different lookouts of the view. In Florence, each path to the duomo is filled with different points of history and people that occupy the busy town.
This past weekend I visited Cinque Terre where I think the weather and being a brief 10 minute or less walk to the beaches made us enjoy it. Seeing the unique style of architectural work throughout the country is also something that I found interesting of visiting each town but then comparing them to one another.
As we are just one month into the semester, it has already exceeded our expectations and has taught us so much!