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About Me:

One year more. It's going fast. Am I taking advantage of every opportunity? You betcha.

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Posts Tagged “abroad”

Looking Ahead

I’m the kind of person who exists where I am. What that means is when I come to a new place I put the majority of my attention into dwelling there. I’ll frequent facebook every now and again to keep in touch with family and friend, or skype here and there. But ask anyone and they’ll tell you that I keep in touch less than the desired amount.

This normally isn’t a huge problem, but it certainly hampers my ability focus on Butler activities (such as registering for classes, looking for a summer internship), as well as life beyond school. I consider this semester something of a “pause” semester. I’m taking a break from the English classes, the Butler routine, and getting out into the world to experience…whatever there is to experience. Life, I suppose.

Yet certain deadlines pull me back into this world, and I know already that I’m approaching everything a bit differently with this new point of view impressed upon me. For instance, when I contemplate what I want to do with my life beyond Butler, my interests have expanded beyond the original:

-go to grad school

Cool. Irrelevant, maybe, but cool, definitely.

-write a best-selling novel

-become the American/Male J.K. Rowling

A commonly held belief in the creative writing community is that one does not go directly from a Bachelor’s degree into a Master’s program. A writer needs one very important thing: experience. Something to draw from for their stories. For instance, this past semester I read the works of a grad student who had served our country in the Middle East. Anyone can write about these wars, but there is a certain amount of credibility given to someone who has experienced said event.

On this point, I’ve broadened views for viable options post-graduation, and I’ve landed on the idea of teaching English abroad as a second language. Why English? Why abroad? English, as I’ve learned during my time in Europe, is incredibly widely spoken. I’m sure there are a number of historical reasons for these, but suffice it to say that English has become the neutral language. A person from Greece and Korea would be able to communicate, solely because both grew up learning English.

Being a native born speaker immediately makes me a candidate to teach the language; we’re in pretty high demand in some countries.

So it seems that in one fell swoop I’ve solved a number of issues, including how to utilize an English Literature degree, what to do after graduation, and how to keep traveling the world.

Of course, carrying out all of this will be a whole different story. But for now I can be contented with an idea of the future, as hazy as it is exciting.

I'm living on the edge!...of realizations

Juventus Overcomes Napoli 3-0

Here are the highlights of the Italian Championship between Juventus and Napoli. Juventus won 3-0! It was a fantastic game (given that I have been won over by the ever charismatic Juventus) and I now make it my mission to see their games whenever I can. The most amazing goal of the game comes at minute 4:00 of this clip.

YouTube Preview Image

Naturally, it would have been impossible to avoid the soccer fever, given that I already find it to be one of the most entertaining sports to watch. I appreciate this side of the Atlantic quite a bit more given that when I tell people how American football is a brutish, ugly sport for the weak of mind, I don’t receive cold shoulders, icy stares, or a string of words that are better left unrepeated.

What I remember vividly from the States are the complaints that soccer is just “too boring.” Well, to aid in the inculcation of culture into my readership, I offer hear a list of the ways to make soccer an enjoyable sport–advice taken straight from the actions of Italians.

1) Like the fans of Roma, choose one team to become a fan of. Then, despise all other teams regardless of nationality, skill level, or reason.

2) While watching the game,  work yourself into a great fit over every little thing that happens. If things are going poorly, lament to the heavens that all is lost. Then, when things turn around become ecstatic.

3) Physical movement: jump, pout, shout, storm out, clap, slap, don’t nap, bang the wall, let your head fall, shake your fist at the ref’s call, cheer, sneer, and above all bear in mind that you have now become very entertaining to your friends.

4) If your interested in learning a bit of Italian, the more vulgar side, watch with Italians.

5) Pay attention! In the fifty minutes that pass before the first goal is a subtly building tension that makes that one goal a thousand times more satisfying than the bevy of points we experience in every game of basketball. Hockey fans might be better equipped to understand this.

Of course, all of this cannot go without being said that Butler has a fantastic soccer team, and that unfortunately I have not frequented their games as much as I would have liked. Consider this a promise to see them more when I return!

Andrew? Andrew? …Beuller?

I’m coming to the end of my semester here in Italy. Well, quasi-end. I’m actually about to take final exams, but I will still have one more month of classes, which I will take at the next level (B2 instead of B1 which I have been in for the next semester).

And I must say that I am quite ready for the change. I made the decision before I came to study solely language here in Italy, and it has gone fantastically. However, there were a few things I didn’t account for:

It's certainly not the most brightly decorated room either.

-1 subject, as compared to the 5 or 6 I normally have at Butler University
-4 teachers, with 80% of my time spent with two of them
-Also, 80% of my time spent in the same classroom
-When I arrived, I was way behind. After three months of speaking Italian on a regular basis and devoting all of my studies to the language, I’m way ahead.

So I have my two final exams this week (Wednesday and Thursday) and how did I decide to spend the weekend studying? Well naturally I took a trip to Lake Trasimeno a half hour away from Perugia with my two American friends and two Korean friends. What proceeded was a lovely day of cultural exchange, a good amount spoken in Italian, all while appreciating the quaint town resting on its banks. (Turns out the Koreans have a game almost identical to Rock, Paper, Scizzors, but when you lose you get flicked in the head. On a related note, my forehead is sore.)

But all of this drives me to a slightly longer post today than the usual. For a period of the semester I was frustrated with the pace of my learning. With my friends, we would always imagine ways in which our learning might be quickened. Part of this comes from a massive stress that I am certain falls on every  student who decides to go abroad. The problem is simple. There is a infinite number of opportunities to pursue, yet all of them are limited by two thing: time and money.

The greatest stress for me is that all of Europe’s experiences are only a decision away, yet I know that I shouldn’t because if I, say, decide to take a train to Switzerland this weekend, I won’t have the time to go to Palermo at the end of April as I am also planning. At the same time, I couldn’t stand the thought of spending a weekend relaxing in my room, appreciating the city that I’m staying in. Why is that? Because I have only been given four months to live here, and I would feel as if I were wasting the little time I have. As it is, I have accepted that I will only spend my trips inside of Italy, to save on costs but also to enter as completely as possible into this culture that I have invested a semester of my collegiate career into.

NOSTALGIA!!!

Two weeks ago I became so dispirited (as my bank account plummeted viciously) that I longed for the weekends at Butler where I could just lounge on the mall for hours without worry. Yet, simultaneously with this thought is the realization that when I return to the mall, I will miss the hill country of Umbria.

In somma, I have had to deal with a number of disappointments, either with too-slow classes or too-limited travel plans. In the end, I need to accept all of this. Why? If I fail in this, I will end up tainting my entire experience with negativity. Attitude makes or breaks an experience. And always I can appreciate that I have so many opportunities available to me that I can’t take in all of them. Any economics class will teach you about cost-benefit analysis. As I enter into the final stretch of lessons, final stretch of time here, I’ve promised to myself to keep a positive attitude. Without this, I met as well as remain in my room for the remainder of my time here.

It's like this Bacione. If I tried to eat it all, I'd have a stomach ache! As they say, don't bite off more than your digestive system can handle.

 

 

The Prob-lution

I’ll admit, that based on all of this, class became quite dull. It was not the fault of the professors, I’m the one who asked for the full-immersion semester. And I would be lying through my teeth if I said that my Italian wasn’t light-years ahead of where I started.

However, when I arrived, I was challenged heartily by my classes. Since improving myself inside and outside of class, the pace of our learning has slowed as new students have entered the class from lower levels. So here I am, two weeks before an exam that will allow me to enter the next level, and I find myself incredibly under challenged.

What I have resorted to practicing and learning Italian outside of class. What this means: I am reading Harry Potter in Italian, which is a great way to see more advanced grammar. I’m also watching films in Italian, which is great practice for understanding. But above all, my skills are put to the real test when hanging out with Italians.

 

Class: A Snapshot

It’s been an interesting ride this semester. When I got here in the spring, I could speak just about…well, nothing in Italian. Honestly, I don’t think I can even judge how far I’ve come since then, because all of the days and weeks just meld together.

One of the most interesting aspects of this semester is the difference in routine. At Butler, I’m normally throwing myself into five or six different classes with a wide range of subjects or even departments, all while keeping up with a number of activities outside of class.

Here, it’s one subject: Italian. I have four professors, but eighty percent of my time is spent with two of them. That eighty percent of the time is spent in the same classroom. In terms of outside activities, I must organize them on my own, can’t rely on a generous university to walk me through my day.

But what does this all MEAN?!?!

Morning Walk Pt. 2

At this point, I’m beyond attempting to wrap my mind around the idea that I’m here in Perugia, in the heart of Italy, able to watch the morning rays saturate the brick facades of thousand year old churches, walls, and towers. I’m just going to enjoy it.

I saw a playground at the base of the Etruscan Wall, more than 2000 years old, and could only dream of being a kid who could play here, running around and after the pigeons under the stones that have lasted through the ages, through the reigns of multiple civilizations and eras.

As I walked home, I gave thanks for this opportunity. In the caffe’ as I ate my cornetto, I pondered the mysteries of this place. Then I remembered I have some homework…maybe I can get to that later.

Morning Walk

If you’ve ever wondered, fog doesn’t “roll” in so much as it “marches” in. I say this because this morning I got up at 6:30 AM and took a stroll around the narrow streets of Perugia, and came out to the edge of the town where I drank in the panorama of Umbria hill-country.

Naturally, I came up with some of the most amazing pictures ever. This post is 1/3 words, 2/3 pictures. You’re probably sick of hearing my talk anyway.

I climbed to the nearby Monastery and sat on the steps as I contemplated the early morning sun, the tolling bells (who do they toll for again?), and the birds reveling in a sight I witness far too rarely.
The morning completed HERE

Carnevale: Pt 2

Q. You’re not better than me because you visited Venice. I heard it’s overhyped and really expensive.
A. Words of an ignorant man. As I was saying, the city was alive with festivities. I split my time between exhausting my camera’s battery and my wallet at delicious restaurants or tourist sights. Normally I try to avoid being a tourist, but in this case I had to give in.

People always tell me I shouldn't stick my nose in other people's business...

Q. Know the best way not to be a tourist? Stay in your own country and stop complaining.
A. Listen, I’m sorry I didn’t bring you with me! You would have loved the flight of the angel (an event that left my neck begging for rest) and all of the panoramic shots of the canal system. I just didn’t feel like being crazy abroad. But, I can buy you a knick-knack if that’ll make you feel better.
Q. …It might.
A. I’ll get you one from Venice. How about a mask to remind you how much you missed out on!
Q. I don’t like you.

(Thus concludes Andrew’s first and only existential dilemma.)

Flight of the Angel!!!

Carnevale: Pt 1

An assortment of mask...what fun!

Q. So Andrew, what’s been new with you?
A. First of all, I’d like to thank you for having me on your show. This past weekend, I visited Carnevale!
Q. I think you misspelled carnival, there.
A. You are incorrect sir! Carnevale is an annual festival throughout Italy that precedes Lent. I visited Venice on the opening weekend. It was incredible: the entire town was in the streets, partying in the classiest manner. I felt like I had been dropped into medieval Europe, what with all of the costumes, masks, and even the—
Q. So it’s just a hyped up Halloween? So really I’m not missing much right?
A. …You are incorrect. Sir.

Find out what happens next HERE

I'm as excited for Carnevale as I am for this Twix that I bought on the trip there

It’s A Journal, not a Diary…

Advice for all people planning on studying abroad: take a journal! The reasons are innumerable. You are going to want to remember everything that happens during the incredible months you have abroad. Also, you’ll improve your language proficiency in leaps and bounds.

So maybe not innumerable, just the two actually.

My biggest problem at this moment is time management. THERE’S TOO MUCH I WANT TO DO! (Admittedly a good problem). I want to read Harry Potter in Italian, watch movies in Italian, journal, spend time with friends, hit the town, travel…Man I love this place.

It's Journaling Time! (Sometimes I think I just shouldn't write anything in the caption...)