So far, my stay in Italy has been great. The semester is a little more than half over, and I have a feeling that I?ll be getting on a plane back to the U.S. before I know it.

I recently traveled to Rome and spent a week with my family. From the very beginning of the trip I realized that it was going to be a little bit harder than I thought.

After being in Italy for two months, I was finally forced to put all of my knowledge about Italy and its culture to use. I was in charge of finding out all kinds of information, from directions to the Colosseum to directions to a bathroom.

Although the meals with my family were really great, they were also difficult. Since I can

barely translate an Italian menu for myself, ordering was hard. We were never quite sure what we were getting, but it almost always turned out good in the end.

Rome seems to work at a faster pace than many other parts of Italy. Traffic laws do not exist, yet the people seem oblivious to this fact. They forget about the dangers and walk in the middle of the streets. I learned not to follow this behavior after a small incident with a motor scooter.

On the other hand, the city of Rome seems a bit slower than the rest of the world. When they?re not racing through the streets, Italians can be found sipping a cappuccino or romantically entwined on the Spanish Steps.

In fact, the tourists are probably the main contributors to the chaos. There wouldn?t be nearly as much commotion if it weren?t for the field trips of groups of fifty kids and tour groups led by women holding up flags. After all, what would those men do who sell the annoying toys and sunglasses if it weren?t for the tourists?

Rome is an amazing city even with so much tourism. But beware of the families wearing matching hats, t-shirts and fanny packs … and let?s just hope that they?re not Americans.

? Katie Allen

Class of 2002

This past week was spring break for all of us here in Arezzo. Many of us ventured out to different parts of Spain, while others visited Ireland, Greece, Germany and yes, even the south of Italy.

I chose to visit Madrid with three other UR students and our Italian friend. Madrid was quite a change from Arezzo.

Arezzo is an old, small, quaint, typical Italian city, while Madrid is a large, busy, modern ?bumpin?? city. There was lots to see, lots to do and much sangria to drink.

Our days were spent visiting museums and gardens, watching bullfights and flamenco. Our nights were spent eating tapas and dancing at discotecas.

After being in Arezzo for so long, it was hard keeping up with the Spaniards, but we slowed it down with a trip to Toledo, which was very much like a small Italian village with stone buildings and narrow, dark hilly streets.

For the last two days of our spring break, we decided to stop in Sevilla. Sevilla was the best way to end our trip because the weather was hot and beautiful ? and so were the people! The streets were lined with lemon and orange trees and the city was packed with the most amazing gardens you?ll ever see, like the one in Alcazar.

Sevilla was a perfect combination of old and new. Asalways, it was hard to go and end spring break, but at least for now, home is Italy and not Rochester.

? Viviana Benitez

Class of 2002

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