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Memorable Moments in Italy

Liliana Macias: july 22, 2021

The Gaylord students and Interns were able to go to Pisa, La Spezia, Cinque Terre, Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples, Sorrento, Poppi, Pompeii, and Assisi! Each trip required a level of planning and offered an opportunity for growth that expands the perspective of each student in its unique way. The experiences of independent travel with friends you have made during your stay in Italy are moments that students never forget. While there may be some urgency to travel to every single city or region one might have in mind, it is essential to recognize that sometimes quality over quantity is more doable, especially during a busy semester! OUA also does a wonderful job of providing as many experiences as possible to its students by incorporating independent travel days, supporting students on their search for locations, and including day trips to different cities within Italy! 


My experience thus far (with only two weeks left) as the Language and Culture intern has been truly inspiring and unforgettable! There is something so surreal about taking a quick train ride to a neighboring city and being able to see just how diverse (yet similar) each region is within Italy. Through every moment and opportunity, I am able to immerse myself even more into the Italian language and culture! This weekend, I will take my second to last trip to finally visit the south of Italy (Naples and Sorrento here I come!) as most of my travels this summer have been in Italy’s central and northern regions! Here are some of my favorite moments from my trips to Florence, Poppi, Assisi, and Cinque Terre.


My first trip was to Florence with Taylor (the other Summer Intern) and Leanna (the Center Coordinator)! “This trip was one focused on emphasizing the art and its history as we prepared to organize an Instagram live where Kirk (OUA's Director of Italian Programs and local art historian) took us through a short tour of the city and some of its memorable pieces. Before the Instagram and Facebook live, Taylor, Leanna, and I all had the opportunity to walk throughout the city and see the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Battistero di San Giovanni, and Ponte Vecchio! There is something just so utterly breathtaking about these beautiful buildings that everyone should have the opportunity to see (at least once!)”


Next was Poppi, “As we continued our journey up, I could not help but stop to look at the incredible views that Poppi had to offer. This quiet and charming town reminded me a lot of my time in Idaho to visit my mom's side of the family. It was truly a relaxing and enjoyable experience that also expanded my perspective on what sort of adventures I am able to go on while in Italy.”


Then Assisi the very next day! “In the end, we were unable to go inside [La Cattedrale di San Rufino] as we did not get the tickets in time (as COVID-19 reduced the number of individuals that can go inside buildings). Nonetheless, we had an incredible day walking through the city and embracing the spontaneous nature of the trip. I could not be any happier to have spent another day exploring Italy with people I have grown close with during my time here! Here is to new memories and wonderful friends!”


Lastly, a group of Gaylord students, Taylor, and I stayed in La Spezia after our day trip with OUA to Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre! “I could not think of a more beautiful experience​​ than swimming in the incredibly blue Mediterranean Sea, my wonderful friends spontaneously buying swimsuits with me, and witnessing the vastness of the world around me. This was my first ever overnight trip, and although we had some Airbnb issues prior to and during the trip, I would never trade that experience for anything else in the world! The morning of our departure, Rachel, Taylor G., Emily P., and I hopped on an 8 am train to Monterosso so we could spend our last few moments in the water. At that moment (on the beach of Monterosso), I felt limitless.”

I cannot wait to see what is yet to come!

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