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:
-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.
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.