Cooking in Italy

May 30, 2016
Altavilla, Italy

andrew wall headshot 2

Andrew Wall

Mondays are supposed to be the worst day of the week, but it’s hard to complain when you’re waking up for class in Italy. Waking up early is still not my favorite thing but it’s definitely worth the experience I’m getting here. Starting the day off with the classic Italian hotel breakfast took some getting used to. Back home I would start my day off with a huge plate of scrambled eggs with bacon and toast. Here they eat more simple foods and start off with a selection of croissants, meats and cheeses, and yogurts. After I got used to the change, I’ve come to love the different breakfast. It’s quicker, lighter and a lot simpler.

After our light breakfast it was time for class.  Today we didn’t have a tour or guest lecture so it was a very normal laid back day.  We had to spread out in our daily struggle to get the Wi-Fi to work but once everyone found a spot, it was back to work like usual.  We worked until 12:30 and then it was lunchtime, which is also pretty different in comparison to America.  We have a few different options around us in Altavilla from sandwich shops, pizzerias, the hotel restaurant, and the grocery store. Today I chose to go t
andrew wall hillo the grocery store.  The store here is an experience in itself. To start off, unlike the U.S. where the enter and exit doors are a mere suggestion, they take it very seriously and some doors wont even open if you try to go the wrong way.  Next, exploring any store in a foreign language is a challenge, luckily in the grocery store, you can see what things are or pretty easily guess from pictures on boxes.  A few classmates and I decided to go to the deli and get some fresh prosciutto and mozzarella.  After conversing in some part English, part Italian, and utilizing hand gestures, we were able to get ourselves
the meat and cheese.  We picked up some fresh ripe tomatoes and freshly baked bread to complete the sandwiches.After a short walk we made it back to our lovely hotel and went to the back patio to assemble our sandwich. Borrowing silverware from the hotel restaurant, we were able to cut up the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.  Between the sunshine, sandwiches, crackers and cheese, it made for one of the best lunches I’ve ever had.

A bunch of classmates and I hung out on the patio for hours until the sun went down just listening to music and hanging out.  After that we were forced to go inside and finish up whatever homework we had due.  Everyone slowly headed up from the basement classroom and went to bed, ending the slow relaxed Monday and preparing for the guest lecture and factory tour the following day.

 

Sightseeing in Rome

June 8, 2016
Rome, Italy

Luke Paulson; Senior Construction Management major Hometown: Wilmington NC

Yesterday, at approximately 4:30 p.m. we arrived at the train station in Rome. Immediately, I was overwhelmed with the inner city rush hour. Coming out of the train station, we were thrilled to see the sun creeping out of the clouds that enhanced our initial views of the Roman architecture. After our day of travels, we decided to rest up and start the next day fresh. I woke up this morning at around nine and showered and met the gang down in the lobby. At this point in the trip, we understood there was no way all twenty of us could eat at the same location or see everything we wanted to see with such a large group. After breaking up into groups, my convoy found a quaint cafe in the heart of Rome. We were so excited to discover that they served omlettes. While we have enjoyed our complementary breakfast at CUOA, we needed a fix of an all American breakfast. Unfortunately, these omelets weren’t as hardy as anticipated. However, they held us over. With an additional shot of espresso, we were ready to hit the sights.

luke paulson church

The first sight we adventured to  was the coliseum. Maneuvering through the crowd, we got to the front of the remarkable structure. Although we did not go inside, I can assume it was breath taking. Words cannot
describe the realization of history that was before my eyes. The architecture and rich history within its walls were breathtaking to say the least.

After visiluke paulsonting the coliseum, we headed to the Pantheon. At first we didn’t realize we could access the inside because of the external beauty. Upon further investigation, we found that there was a line that looked like it could wrap around the entire city. After what felt like hours, we began to feel impatient, but we stayed nonetheless. I am confident that the wait was 100 percent worth the experience. We walked in, doing a complete circle and laps to trying to capture every bit of beauty within its walls. Needless to say, I alone couldn’t check everything out. After the trip, we decided to go to a restaurant close to the hotel due to an exhausting day of sight seeing. It was the perfect spot if you were in the mood for a quaint yet modest meal. The food was wonderful, to say the least. It was the ideal dinner to top off our first full day in the city of Rome. I cannot wait to explore the city tomorrow and indulge in its rich history.

Boating in Verona

June 6, 2016
Verona, Italy

sydney trout heashot

Sydney Trout

Studying abroad in Italy has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have met many new faces but also had the chance to share my time here with old friends. However, yesterday was one of the most eventful days of my entire life. After having class in the morning, a group of us decided to take a trip to Verona and go boating on Lake Grada. Luckily I chose to get on the boat that had a little more horsepower than the other. Even though it was an overcast day, we still had a great time. We rented out two boats and cruised up and down the lake for a couple hours. Surprisingly, the water was not cold at all. If anything, it was actually very refreshing and we had an beautiful view. Everyone was jumping off the boat and doing flips into the water. I attempted a front flip but unfortunately landed on by back; it was painful. However, I did not let that stop me from having a good time. We had music playing as we were all in the lake and had a big dance party on our boats.

Eventually, it was time to head back to shore and get on the train to Altsydney trout swanavilla. This is when the day took a drastic turn. While purchasing my ticket for the train, I turned around and noticed something was off. I saw one of our classmates on the ground clenching his hand and a pool of blood surrounding him. Everyone was panicking and was not quite sure what had just happened. One of my other classmates took his shirt and applied pressure to stop the bleeding. We frantically looked for someone who had service to assist us in calling for help. Shortly after, an ambulance arrived and picked up our wounded friend. His hand had a severe gash and we later found out that he had torn a ligament and needed surgery.

 

Just when I thought the day was over, after everything that had happened we found out that we had missed the last train. We thought that we were not going to be back in time in order to meet ousydney trout watert 11 PM curfew and decided to get a cab ride back to our hotel. It was pretty expensive but in the end we were all glad that our classmate was okay and in good hands.  Despite the tragic event that occurred during the end of our trip I was glad I had the opportunity to spend most of my day on the lake.  It was a breathtaking site and I definitely want
to go back again before we leave to go home. Italy has surprised me in so many ways and continues to everyday. Pictures do not do most of the sites I have seen any justice.  I am glad I have been given the opportunity to experience life in a different culture for 5 weeks. It has been a trip I will never forget.

Italian Heritage

June 7, 2016
Altavilla, Italy

Gregory Nardo headshot

Greg Nardo; Management major Hometown: Swansboro NC

I come from Italian lineage; my paternal great grandparents made the voyage from Italy through Ellis Island in the early 1900’s and settled in South Philadelphia.  Growing up I was close to my paternal grandparents and spent a lot of time around them.  With this being the case, it is rather evident that the Italian culture, mannerisms, and history are important to me.  My grandfather always promised he would take me back to his “homeland” and, additionally, he is my greatest role model.  So it goes without saying that studying abroad in Italy for these 16 days are an incredible experience to me.

 

 
To this dategreg nardo rome, the 7th day of June, 2016 I have walked the streets of Rome, I have been inside Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Pantheon, walked the steps of Capital Hill, and experienced the Ice Bar Roma.  I have ridden the Frecciarossa through the beautiful landscape of the Italian countryside from Rome to Vicenza, then to AltaVilla.  I toured the original Ducati plant, Borgo Panigale, in Bologna and then came back to our quaint village that same night to the most delectable homemade Italian meal in th
e hillside—the views were breathtaking.  It is only my fourth day here in Italia, but I already have enough memories of this amazing place and my incredible classmates to last a life time.  In the next two weeks my feet will touch the grounds of Florence, Cinque Ter
re and it’s accompanying islands, Milan, and hopefully Venice.  Today I, along
with some of my closest friends here, are renting boats on Lake Garda.  Needless to say I will enjoy some local wine from the Veneto region we are living in as we ride.

 

The only detracting fgreg nardo rome 2actor of this trip is the poor Wi-Fi—but I can live without that.  Trips to the local grocery store and small sandwich shop across from the college are experiences in themselves.  I have to thank my mother and father for their financial support for this trip; they are incredible.  My father is 100% Italian and even he hasn’t yet experienced his second home.  I wish I could literally pour all of my emotions and feelings into this writing so another could experience the effects this trip is having on my soul.  Italy is amazing; a beautiful country with beautiful people and beautiful style of life.  I will close this blog with the Italian word for beautiful; bello.

Surprise in Vatican City

June 5, 2016
Altavilla, Italy

jessma thomas

Jessma Thomas; Senior Accounting Major Hometown: Morrisville, NC

Today was special. Last night, my roommate and I researched and found out that mass was going to be served in St. Peter’s Square. One of our friends had gotten tickets for this mass earlier but we weren’t able to get any because it was too late. Nonetheless, we figured that we would still go because it would be amazing to attend mass in St. Peter’s. We woke up early in the morning on Sunday and took a bus to the Vatican. We then walked to St. Peter’s Square, went through security and saw that there was a huge crowd right in front of the St. Peter’s Basilica. We were a bit late but I was taken back by the number of people there trying to attend the mass. To my surprise, Pope Francis was the one saying mass today. I knew that there was going to be a Sunday mass and the Pope was going to bless the crowd but had no idea that it was going to be the Pope serving mass today. I was absolutely in awe at the fact that I looking at the Pope with my own two eyes. To say the least, this experience made my entire Rome trip worth it.

 

jessma thomas pope 1

The motorcade of Pope Francis

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St. Peter’s Square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon after the mass was done, the crowd started getting wild. I was confused on what they were all getting so excited about but it turned out that Pope Francis was going to be going down the aisle to greet the people. At this point, I couldn’t hold in the excitement myself. In fact, my face was starting to hurt from smiling so much. Moments later, it happened. It was absolutely one of the best moments of my entire life. Pope Francis drove by me and I am 99% sure that we made eye contact as he waved to the crowd. He actually drove by pretty close to me because I had a good spot by the railing. I will never forget this special moment.Looking back, I realize how incredible it was for other people who were able to share this unforgettable experience with me. There were thousands of people from all over the world who were there for the same reason as me, united regardless of the language we speak or color of our skin; united under our faith. Today was a blessing.

Rome’s Treasures

June 4, 2016
Rome, Italy

Jacob Souva

Jake Souva; MBA student

I freely admit, I can’t keep up with the undergrads as well as I used to be able to. In case any of you are wondering, your body peaks at twenty, and the decline is rapid. Rome is an amazing place, but it will kick your butt (and feet, for that matter). A little background on me: My name is Jacob Souva (Jake), and I’m a 23 year old MBA student with the study abroad program in Italy for five weeks. By the morning of the 4th, I had slept about twelve hours in the past three days, but I was ecstatic that I had gotten a solid five hours the night before, and had walked around fifteen miles in the previous day. Needless to say, my energy levels were comically low.To start the morning, Patrick Umberger and I had booked advance tickets to tour the Vatican Museum at 11:30, so we met up at ten and took a cab to there rather than trying to figure out the bus system before espresso. Patrick and I went to get some breakfast outside the museum before our reservation since we were running early, and after 3 weeks here, I finally had a warm breakfast of bacon and eggs. I’ve noticed that as I study abroad, we all seek some form of reminders of home, and while the Italians haven’t quite figured out how to do hash browns, this was perfect.

Jacob Souva food

We progressed to our reservation at 11:30, and ran into our classmates at the entrance to the exhibits and joined up for the remainder of the visit.  The Vatican museum was absolutely incredible. The exhibits of ancient artifacts were stunning, and ranged from marble statues, to paintings, a mummy, and even tapestries. While walking through it, one cannot help but first notice the building itself and the rooms are perhaps the most breathtaking of all.Towards the end of the museum, we arrived at the Sistine Chapel. I’m not an artsy man, but you cannot help but to stand in awe at the magnificence of it. I cannot begin to explain the impact it has upon you, nor will I attempt to butcher the experience, except to say that it almost brought me to tears.

While the rest of the group I was with went to see St. Peter’s Basilica, I  left the group in favor of spending time in the hotel to rest and take care of homework. As a note to other students reading this and looking at potentially considering this trip in the future, do NOT take an online class separate from the study abroad program. The deadlines do not always line up well with your schedule, but also the Wi-Fi abroad is lacking at best. After dinner, we came across an establishment that was explicitly for students, and catered to English speaking students in particular. The overwhelming feeling was that this was preferable, not for the specials or how lively it could become, but rather to be surrounded by the familiarity of those who spoke your own language. Many students there were with groups that were not directly from American universities, and one girl was ecstatic because nobody in her study abroad program spoke English. Five weeks away from your loved ones and the comforts of home is rough, but the little things, like an American breakfast, are what make it bearable.

When in Rome

June 2, 2016
Rome, Italy

Stephanie Pares headshot

Stephanie Pares

Yesterday morning, I woke up extra excited because it was finally the day that we were all traveling to Rome! It was a holiday in Italy so my two classmates and I, along with one of our professors, woke up at six in the morning in order to catch the bus because it was on a different schedule. We then made it to the train station in Vicenza and made our way to our first stop, Padova, and then soon boarded the high-speed train to make the three hour ride to Rome.Once we arrived in Rome, we had the challenge of locating our hotel while also carrying all our luggage through the streets and being cautious of the many people who pick pocket the entire way. We were lucky enough to have a hotel provided for us that was on a main street with many restaurants and shops and was in the center of all the famous tourist sites. Once we made it to the hotel, we were able to check in to our rooms and freshen up before we headed out to explore the streets of Rome.

Since we took an earlier train, we arrived before the majority of the other students so my classmates and I ventured off to see more of the city we would be calling home for the next three days. Our first stop was a café that offered Wi-Fi so that we could fuel up and plan our next move. We were excited for all the shopping Rome had to offer so we walked up and down the streets browsing all the many European clothing stores. Through all the long walking, we found ourselves amongst a giant crowd of people at the Trevi fountain. It has always been my dream to see the beautiful fountain and toss a coin in after making a wish and after yesterday, I was finally able to cross that off my bucket list.

stephanie pares fountain

Trevi fountain in Rome, Italy.

After all the walking and familiarizing ourselves with the city, we decided to walk back to the hotel to get some rest and charge our phones. We made it back to the hotel and were surprised to see that the rest of our classmates had finally arrived! We were all so excited to be able to experience Rome, so we quickly made it back out on the streets to go looking for a restaurant where we could all eat and share our traveling adventures from that day. The restaurants in Rome are much smaller, so we had to split up since no one could accommodate all 28 of us at once; however, the food definitely made up for it. Once dinner was over, we all made our way back to the hotel and joined each other on the balcony of the top floor where we hung out and enjoyed the amazing views of the city at night. We all just stood in silence while we took it all in realized how lucky we were to have this opportunity of traveling to Rome.

Quick trip to Venice

June 2, 2016
Altavilla, Italy

Johann Quintero headshot

Johann Quintero; Senior MIS Major Hometown: Clayton NC

The past two and a half weeks have been absolutely incredible to say the least. I have already met so many great friends, been to the east and west side of Italy, Amsterdam, and am currently waiting to board my flight to Croatia for the weekend. Today started off pretty normally at 8 o’clock to our espressos, pastries, and delicious fresh juices. After that we headed to class and had to start studying for a test. There were a total of three different tests that had to be taken today, luckily I only had one.

 

Today was our last class of the week since tomorrow is an Italian holiday, Republic Day, also known as Festa della Repubblica. It is a special day in which the Italians celebrate the abolishment of the monarchy in 1946 so their country could become a republic. Around 12:30pm, everyone was finished up with class and all came together to get lunch and hang out for the afternoon. Usually I will go across the street to a local sandwich shop but today I decided to eat in the hotel’s cafeteria for lunch. The special for today was the linguini with pesto sauce. It was delicious, and I am happy to say that I have not had a single bad thing here in Italy. The pasta is incredibly fresh and flavorful as is pretty much anything you get here. I am really going to miss the food when I go back to the U.S.
Johann Quintero venice 2Johann Quintero venice 1Our afternoon was very fun and relaxing, I think everyone was just glad to be done with their tests and classes for the week. We all got together and hung out in the hotel lobby and all discussed our plans for the night or weekend. While most of the students will be going to Rome for the weekend, two other classmates and I will be going to Croatia. I know everyone will have an awesome time in Rome and I am glad I got to go there on the first weekend we were here. I am glad I will be getting to experience another country this weekend though. The flights are pretty cheap so why not? Our flight leaves at 6:25am from Venice so we decided to head there this afternoon and had a nice dinner by the canals. We then walked around Venice for a little bit which is a very easy place to get lost. There are so many alleys and before you know it, you’ve found yourself at a dead end that leads straight to the water. I am very glad I decided to come on this study abroad trip to Italy. It has already been such a great experience that I will never forget and I can’t wait to see what’s to come in the next two weeks. Well, now I have to board my flight to Croatia, Ciao!

Johann Quintero venice 3

 

 

 

Trip to Armani

May 30, 2016
Altavilla, Italy

alexis smith headshot

Alexis Smith

Waking up in Italy, there is something new and exciting to look forward to everyday. Mornings feel routine, yesterday we woke up and got breakfast provided from the hotel (boiled eggs, cheese, meat, and croissants) and then went to class. We signed in and had a speaker come talk to us for four hours of our class. The most exciting part of the day for everyone, including myself, was going on a tour to Giorgio Armani Operations. When the speaker finished, we rushed out to get lunch from our usual sandwich shop across the street. On the patio, we engorged on the fresh Italian meats and cheese. Needless to say, time flew by and when 2:15 rolled around, our class all met in the lobby of our hotel and we headed out to see the Giorgio Armani Factory. It was only about a half hour away but it felt like only five minutes as we joked about actually meeting Armani and discussing our guesses what it would be like.

alexis smith GA

alexis smith armani bag

Our bus arrived at the Armani factory and our imagination came true- minus the part it was in the middle of nowhere. We were greeted by Armani’s assistant of 25 years who brought us into a room and gave a brief introduction. Afterwards, we split up into two different groups of 16. Half of us went to the Armani outlet downstairs. I was in the first group to go shopping. Initially, I entered the store thinking I was too broke to buy anything. Everything in the outlet was only a third of the price. Some items wealexis smith drawingsre thirty to fifty percent off the original marked down price too. Most all the girls left with a souvenir. The guys in our group walked in and out and just hung out outside until us girls finished up.

Finally, it was our groups turn to head into the factory with the manager of the place. The tour was unimaginable; we got to see sketches for their new 2017 line and even how they are made. If I had to choose my favorite part it would going to the bottom floor.  While there, we watched a machine cut into the materials into each section of pants from the front, back, pockets, and even zippers. Next to the machines were the women who sat at a sewing machine and hand crafted all of the products.

alexis smith room

We were able to enter into the ‘exclusive’ room where all the products were held. Each clothing piece was examined for any damage, and if they were, it was marked with a red dot where it would either be thrown out or corrected. After the hour tour of the factory, I learned the background of all clothes and manufacturing.  We met up with the other group and our class headed back to our hotel. Before I knew it, we were back at our hotel and fell into our normal routine of dinner at our favorite pizza place. After everyone finished up their homework and studies, we hung out and talked about our adventure from that day before heading up to bed excited for what the next day would bring us.

Goodbye Amsterdam

May 29, 2016
Amsterdam, Netherlands

John tate headshot

John Tate; Senior Finance Major

This Memorial Day weekend is definitely one of the most memorable ones of my life. I had the chance to visit one of the most unique and crazy cities in the world, Amsterdam. As I reflect on the weekend on the train headed back to Altavilla, I am excited to get back to life in Italy but sad I have to leave the city that gave me my favorite adventures. One of the most satisfying parts about the weekend is that people spoke English. Nothing was more refreshing than to hear someone say, “Hello, I speak English.” With that being said, staying in a smaller town in Italy, very few people can speak in English. But up in the Netherlands, there are far more people that spoke English than not. I constantly caught myself saying “ciao” and “grazie” unintentionally.

We started off the weekend in a hectic scramble to the airport when half of the twelve-person group missed the bus to the airport. Talk about a nightmare.  Thankfully, we had enough time to catch another bus and make it to the flight on time. The first and most peculiar thing I noticed when we landed was there was still light out at 9:15 PM. I am so used to it being dark after 8:00 that it was a pleasant surprise when I arrived in the foreign country of the Netherlands. Shortly after settling into my hostel I shared with a group of guys from Canada, we all walked around the town and explored the exciting nightlife that Amsterdam has to offer. The next day we walked around just about everywhere in the city, from the St. Nicholas Basilica to the famous Vondelpark. With that being said, walking around, as it turns out, is pretty dangerous in Amsterdam if you aren’t paying attention to the bike lane. The bikers don’t slow down so if you walk in the bike lane without looking, there is a pretty good chance you’ll come close to being hit and yelled at in Dutch. Thankfully nobody got hit.

We also got the cJack Kissinger amsterdam signhance to tour the Heineken Brewery where we learned about the brewing process and Heineken’s secretive A-Yeast. Food in Amsterdam was also very different than Italian cuisine. I found they eat much more meat than the Italians do. It is pretty difficult to find a place to get a hamburger in Italy but in Amsterdam, you can get one on almost every street.

Getting back to Italy was also a struggle. Our flight was delayed about 40 minutes, causing us to scramble out of the airport and into the first bus we could find. The only problem was we went on the wrong bus. Our comrade, Johann, was left behind. We ended up getting off the bus and walking a couple of miles to a train station that took us back into Milan. Thankfully, we caught the last train back to Verona, except I am another 30 miles away from home and the trains have stopped running. Here’s hoping Johann made it back okay!

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