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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 “study”

Studying at the Libery

School’s back in session. And what a wonderful time of the year it is! The mall is teeming with students either mid-study break or mid-study avoidance. Professors are in their rooms at 8 AM trying to wake up the groggy, unmotivated few who still feel cheated by the time of the class. And of course the library is overrun with those students who are already realizing how far behind they are.

I am among the latter group. Sure school’s only been in session for a week, but it’s much easier than it sounds. Luckily, I only have large amounts of reading to do, and there are plenty of quiet spaces all around campus that encourage focused study. If only there weren’t the fountain running, I wouldn’t have to take so many bathroom breaks…

In any case, I’ve discovered a number of ways to have fun in the library. Go swimming in the fountain and act confused that no one else is wearing their swim suits. Bring a blanket and pillow to the couches on the second floor, and ask people studying nearby if they could turn off the lights. Finally, find someone tucked away in a corner studying alone, scream out “FOUND YOU!” and then tell them it’s your turn to hide and run away.

Classes Registration: It’s Great to be a Senior

I registered for my classes this semester, and man am I loving my future senior status. For instance, I registered in the first time slot available (thanks to the Honors Program) and I felt like I was holding all of Butler University in my palm. Thankfully, my crazed fit of power was short lived. I really should never be in a position of ultimate power…what am I saying, no one should!

In these, my final two semesters at Butler University, I will be taking advantage of everything that Butler has to offer me. For instance, I will be taking two independent studies, one for literature and one for Italian literature. When I relayed this information to my friend who goes to a state school in South Caroline that has upwards of 30,000 students, he was amazed by the idea of working one-on-one with a professor for a semester.

Besides these, I will be immersing myself in a broad array of subjects. I have the time because I am quite ahead of my schedule for graduation. I have signed up for a class that will have me teaching creative writing in a local school, one that will teach me advanced techniques of HTML website design, Chinese (it seems about time to start in on my second language), and I’ve got my fingers crossed for ballroom dance. (The video below illustrates what I expect my life to be like with ballroom dance. YouTube Preview Image

New Classes

Last week the final stretch of classes commenced, and what a relief it has been. To give you an idea of the new velocity we’re learning out, here’s a rundown of the first week:

-Due to the time at which my schedule was given to me, I missed the first lesson. Three hours. In those three hours, I missed approximately five different past tenses, all of which I had expected to be covered over the entire month. On a related note, I am coming to appreciate the simplicity of English verbs.

-The difficulty of discussion has advanced: rather than spending the entirety of three months talking about what we did over the weekend (vocabulary barriers tend to deaden a conversation) we spent one class talking about xenophobia around the world and another discussing euthanasia.

-I feel the need to study! It’s a fantastic thing. The motivation no longer has to be entirely internal.

The biggest difference of all between the classes is the speaking level of everyone in the class. While before we had a wide range (skilled to barely uttering syllables) everyone is much more ahead, with the exception of our Australian friend Tim who is quite a hoot: maybe in his 70’s, speaks as if unaware that an Italian accent exists, but with a reading level far ahead of all of us. He casually dropped once that he’d read a number of books in Italian, and it shows in his eclectic use of massive words.

Metaphor of a moment of introspection

Other things going on in my life: I visited Milano, one of the most modernized cities in the country. It was a fantastic experience, because I got to see what a “modern” city in Italy would be like. Originally I had imagined grey, dark streets and towering skyscrapers that blocked out the sun. In fact, the city managed to combine the beauty of most Italian cities with modernity, transforming it into perhaps one of my favorite cities. Not to mention the fantastic Argentinian burgers I ate there.

First Mall of the World!

Beautiful Stained Glass from Milan's Duomo

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?!?!

WOOO-OAH! We’re half way there….

The saddest moment of my day today has been realizing that this trip is at its halfway point. It makes me want to…well…*sniffle*…

AHEM! Allora, I think that this has been the most incredible experience of my life. And it’s not even that impressive voicing out aloud, because when I put this idea into words it diminishes it somehow. I have twenty-one years under my belt, the world is my oyster, and I feel like I’m at the peak of my experience. Everything it going up from here.

I’m in love with being young. Everyday I’ll have a conversation with a new person in which we discuss our options for the future. I think I have four or five completely separate career options at this point, and it’s awesome. This is the moment in my life where I feel like I can do anything I want. So, if you’re reading this and, say, considering a university to attend, I’m pretty pumped for you. The possibilities are endless. Live it up, and make the best of the time you have.

I'm sad! see those tears?

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