Venezia, tu é bellissima!

Last night I returned from one of my favorite trips so far-Venezia! The City of Love was as beautiful as all the pictures I have seen on Google images. My friends and I were able to book the trip just a few days before leaving since traveling within Italy is pretty simple. We took a train from Milano Centrale station Saturday morning and arrived in Venice in the early afternoon. As soon as we exited the station, we were met by a gorgeous view of the Grand Canal. The sun was shining so perfectly onto it that it glimmered as we all stared in awe. The whole weekend still feels like a dream.

We snapped a few photos and walked down one of the narrow, winding streets. We stumbled upon a cute little pizzeria and grabbed some food before exploring the city. Before we could even place our orders, the waiter gave us the WiFi password and said “I know…you have to put all of this on Instagram.” (He wasn’t wrong…) After lunch, we walked around a little and took a taxi to our Holiday Inn located about ten minutes from the main part of the city. Ironically, this was much less expensive than any of the hostels we could find, not that we were complaining! After freshening up a bit, we headed back to Venice and did what we were all daydreaming about since the day we left for Italy-a gondola ride! We did it at the perfect time since the sky was still somewhat bright. The ride was absolutely amazing and so peaceful. We floated down little “streets” passing by many homes and restaurants. We wanted it to last forever. Afterwards, we had dinner right along the canal.

The next day, we took a boat to San Marco, another breathtakingly beautiful part of Venice. We took so many pictures because the water looked extra blue and sparkly that day. In my opinion, the trip was way too short since there are so many parts of the city, each with their own unique characteristics.

Some of the other trips I have taken were to Cinque Terre, Brusson, Fort Bard, and Lake Como. I have yet to be disappointed by any of these places. I feel so lucky to have the ability to travel to so many places while I study here. Milan is a great location for traveling since it is close to many popular cities, as well as other European countries. In just two weeks I will be traveling to Amsterdam! Each place that I have traveled to has been more and more beautiful, but I have to say Fort Bard offered the best views I have seen so far(picture featured above). I still scroll through all of my pictures in amazement and cannot believe I was able to see it in person. I was able to take a tour of the fort itself and each successful level of the fort offered an even more incredible view than the previous one. I’m hoping to go back before I return to the U.S. just to experience it one more time.

Thanks for reading! Ciao!

Class…? What’s That?

It’s a beautiful Friday afternoon in Milan and I am officially finished with my first full week of classes here. Yes, that’s right…studying abroad in Italy is more than just traveling and eating pasta! I must say that my classes here are fantastic. I began my week with an elective course entitled “Television, Advertising, and Music: the Italian Approach to the Media” led by a professor who is in the music industry himself. I am also enrolled in a course for my major called “Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship” in which my professor has his own brewing company! My other courses are equally as good and are taught by people who currently work in the field about which they are teaching. In that respect, they act as resources and connections for all of their students. One of my professors, who teaches my Fashion Market elective, gave us the invite to several Fashion Week events, two of which I am attending today!

The courses themselves were structured similarly to my classes at New Paltz. My professors upload all of their lectures onto Blackboard so we can refer to them if we miss any notes in class. They strongly encourage participation and class discussion to further our understanding of the topics covered in class.The classes run for about the same time as my classes at New Paltz, if not a little longer. My professors are very engaging and display a strong passion for their jobs.

One of the coolest things about all of my classes this week was when the professor took attendance and I was reminded of how many different countries are being represented in each of my classes. We all went around introducing ourselves and saying where we are from. At New Paltz, I’m so used to hearing “Long Island, Queens, Long Island, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey…” but in my classes here it is more like “Brazil, France, Germany, Hungary, U.S., Australia…” and so on. The list is endless. As we went around the room, each person responded with a different accent. It amazes me how so many places in the world are being represented at just one university in Milan. Luckily, I get to talk to all of them and hear about their life experiences in comparison to mine. I might even have a place to stay if I end up visiting these places in the future!

Being back in school definitely feels a little strange after being on one of the longest summer vacations of my life (close to 5 months) but it feels great. I have a very good feeling about my classes, my professors, and the things I will learn both in and out of the classroom.

Un bacione…xxoo

A Taste of Italy

Three weeks have gone by in the blink of an eye. At the same time, it feels like I have already been here for several months! I have met countless new people from countries all over the world, I’ve gone on three trips, and I have eaten a scary amount of carbs. Luckily, I am averaging seven miles a day à piedi (on foot).

The food is as good as I had hoped it would be, if not better. Every day I must restrain myself from stopping into one of the many gelatterias I pass during my travels. One of my favorite things to have here is “un cappuccino”. During my first two weeks here, I was enrolled in an intensive two-week Italian language course in a part of Milan called Buonarroti. On the first day of class, my roommate and I got off at the wrong metro stop, which just happened to bring me to one of my favorite spots, Cremeria Buonarroti. For the past two weeks I woke up early almost every morning just so I could stop here for my “cappucco e brioche”. The man who works there quickly began to recognize me and knew my order after just a few days. Each morning I was greeted by a warm and welcoming smile, putting me in a good mood for the rest of the day.

When I first moved into my apartment here, I tried to keep an open mind. It certainly was not what I expected but I tried to make the most of if for the first few days. Eventually my roommates and I agreed that it was a bit too far from campus as well as the other international students. After speaking with our housing service, we were moved into a new apartment! We were all quite pleased with our new accommodation. It is about a thirty minute commute via la metropolitanà and is located off of the stop “C’a Granda” on the lilac metro line. We immediately settled in and felt right at home. Until next time….arrivederci!

Una Settimana Dopo….

While grabbing “un cappuccino” with my roommate before class this morning we both realized that it had been exactly one week since our arrival in Milan. When I first arrived I was beyond excited to start a new chapter in my life. As I stepped off the plane, I tried to wrap my head around the fact that I was finally in Italy. The Malpensa airport, unlike JFK, was quiet, calm, and quite pleasant. I initially thought of how I would be considered a resident of another country for an entire semester and was overcome by joy and happiness.

When I saw my campus for the first time, I was speechless. It was absolutely beautiful. Google images did not do it justice whatsoever. I was surrounded by other international students from places all over the world who shared my excitement to be part of such a wonderful experience. Of course, in this last week I have had to make many adjustments and will continue to do so throughout the semester. My large iced coffee was replaced by a teeny tiny espresso and my breakfast now consists of “brioche con crema” (one of the many delicious pastries Italy has to offer).

During this last week I have had to become much more independent and open-minded. I now live in a bustling city that is quite different from my small suburban home town in New Jersey. I have already met people from counties all over the world and have formed relationships that will last me a lifetime.

One of the most breathtaking views in Milan is, of course, the Duomo (pictured). My jaw immediately dropped as I approached it for the first time. I had never seen a church so large and so beautiful. Luckily, it is only a ten minute walk from my campus and is surrounded by numerous stores, restaurants and gelatterias! I am certainly still adjusting to my new home, but I am so incredibly happy to be here in Milano! Ciao!


A week before my arrival the nerves were setting in. I had a constant countdown in my head starting from the beginning of August right up until the day before my departure. As the numbers dwindled down to single digits I felt a combination of excitement, curiosity, and fear. I had only been to Europe once before for two weeks, but an entire semester abroad brought about a mixture of feelings I did not know I could feel all at once.

Studying abroad in Italy was my dream for as long as I can remember. I could not believe the time was finally coming when I would immerse myself in an entirely different culture in a place I had always wanted to visit. My trip did not seem real to me. I knew the reality of it wouldn’t set it until I was tucked away in my window seat of Alitalia. I did not know what to expect once I arrived in Italy. What would my apartment be like? Would I get along with my roommates? How many different schools were being represented at my new university? My head was spinning as new questions popped into my head every time I thought about my trip.

When I realized I only had a week to go before I embarked on this journey, I could not control my excitement. My suitcase was teeming with clothes I definitely didn’t need to bring (but when do I not overpack?) and my passport was ready to be stamped. Of course, I knew how hard it would be to say goodbye to all the people I love at home but I kept telling myself how amazing and memorable this experience would be.

Where has the time gone?

I cannot believe I have been here for 2 months already! I do not feel like it has been that long, but my family and friends say it feels like I have been gone much longer.

I have been keeping busy with small day and weekend trips. Midterms are finally over, and it was probably the most stressful week I have had since I have been here. Now I get to enjoy a 2 week spring break. I can’t complain much about that!

Over the last few weeks, I have visited Montepulciano, Pienza and Prague. I got to go to Montepulciano and Pienza through a field learning trip. They are both providences in Siena and absolutely magnificent. They each overlook miles of beautiful landscapes and vineyards. While I was there I got to do a food and wine paring in Montepulciano and a pecorino cheese tasting in Pienza. All the food in Italy is so fresh, which makes it taste 30000x better. Something I learned while in Montepulciano was parts of Twlight: New Moon were filmed there. It was cool getting to be there.

My next big trip was to Prague in the Czech Republic. Prague is a huge city, and is slowly becoming a big tourist spot in Europe. More and more people are starting to realize how beautiful the city is and appreciate all the amazing artictecturhe. I can attest that it is beautiful, and everyone should at some point in their life go there. Probably my favorite part about the trip was the food. The food in Europe in general is hands down awesome, but the food in Prague is a whole other level. When traveling to different places constantly I try and eat as many traditional foods as possible, because when am I ever going to get the chance to try them again. As it would happen there was an Easter festival going on while we were there. There were all these carts with handmade crafts, and lots of different food. We basically tired a new traditional food for each meal. We had huge sausages with cabbage mustard and ketchup in a hot dog bun, fired cheese on bread, fired dough with ketchup garlic and cheese, goulash soup in a bread bowl, goulash dumplings and turtle necks. Turtle necks are those cylinder shaped pastries usually filled with ice cream and strawberries you have probably seen on twitter or instagram. Yes, they are as good as they look. They can get a little messy , but it is worth it.

Prague was a whole new type of atmosphere much difference than Switzerland and Italy, and I am happy I got the chance to experience it.

Ciao Svizzera!

Another week in Florence has flown by. That means time for a trip! Next on the list Switzerland.

Let me just start off by saying Switzerland was amazing! My friends and I all had so much fun, and I would highly recommend this trip to anyone thinking about going. We traveled to Interlaken, a cute little town located between two huge lakes. The lakes there were a beautiful crystal teal blue, which looked so nice next to the snow capped mountains. Although the town was small, there was no shortage of things to do. You could go skiing or snowboarding, make chocolate, paragliding, sky diving, hiking, ice skating and more.

We decided to book our trip through one of the local traveling companies, Euroadventures. It is one of the more popular traveling agencies most study abroad students use. Their trips are affordable and cover transportation, lodging and sometimes breakfast. Only down side the transportation is usually done by bus. So traveling from Florence to Interlaken was not so fun.The bus ride ended up being 9 1/2 hours with two stops for bathrooms and food, but we finally got to our hotel around 3 am.

Even though we were running on barely any sleep, we went on a walk to see Lake Thunersee, one of the two lakes surrounding the town, on Friday morning. After we decided to go on a nine mile hike up one of the nearby mountains, and the view kept getting better at each lookout point. After a long day of adventuring we learned how to make chococlate at the Funky Chocolate House. Why wouldn’t anyone want to learn how to make chocolate in Switzerland of all places! I am pretty sure I ate my weight in chocolate that night, and I have no regrets.

Saturday was a little more slow, but no less exciting. We explored the shops of the town and went iceskating. The ice skating rink was different than a normal one, because it was smaller rinks connected by multiple paths. Originally the plan for the day involved paragliding, but due to poor weather conditions it was cancelled. We did get lucky on Sunday, because they rescheduled us for a morning jump.

Sunday morning, we piled into a van that took us 20 minutes up a mountain and then walked another 5 minutes to get to the jump site. From there we ran one by one off the mountain into the air. It was the strangest feeling, because they tell you keep running even when you are no longer touching the ground. Before you know it you are soaring high above everything. It was one of, if not, the best experiences of my life. You glide through the air for about 15 minutes, which is plenty of time. The professional paraglider with me did tricks and took pictures and videos to capture the whole thing. It was the perfect way to end our trip to Switzerland.

I decided to take this upcoming week to explore Florence some more with my extra free time. I can’t wait to share what I find!

First stop Carnivale

This second week flew by. I already have a week and a half of classes under my belt and have already traveled to Venice for the weekend. Classes are going well. Even though they are two and a half hours long each they fly by, and I almost wish there was more time, because these classes are so interesting. I am fascinated by this culture everyday, it is much different than the US. Just to point out a few things. People here are very friendly and will say hi to you on the streets. All the food is locally grow and tastes very fresh. When you go out to eat the waiter or waitress does not hound you in hopes of turning over your table again, they want you to stay and enjoy your time with whoever you are with. They hold food very sacred here. Lastly, there is a much different definition of going out here. When people go out they go to pub have a drink with friends and just stand outside in the piazza’s and enjoy each others company.

To celebrate a successful first week of classes my four friends and I decided to take a weekend trip to Venice for Carnivale. Carnivale is an annual festival, held in Venice, Italy. The Carnival ends with the Christian celebration of Lent, forty days before Easter, the day before Ash Wednesday. People dress up and wear decorative masks, it is one festival you do not want to miss out on. On Friday morning we took the two hour train ride off the main land of Venice, and joined right into the celebration. We stayed in a beautiful apartment right along side one of the many canals that connect the city, got masks, took a gondola ride and enjoyed some the local cuisine and nightlife.

Once again the beauty of this place can not be accurately described in words or photos. The weather was beautiful and sunny so a jacket was not needed during the day. It is amazing, we were only a two hour train ride from Florence and you are able to feel a difference in the atmosphere. Both beautiful cities with many similarities, but each has its own vibe. Venice is more traditional and even more peaceful than Florence. While Florence has evolved to accommodate an American tourist lifestyle, Venice does not as much. The transportation is done by boat here, and it is amazing given the narrow sizes of some of the canals how they do not crash into each other.

Day two in Venice we walked along the carnival route which takes you around the whole island along the central canal. It all leads to Piazza San Marco, a huge square where everyone gathered to take in the costumes and giant cathedral and tower. It is definitely a sight to see. I wished I could have stayed longer, but train tickets were selling out fast and we had not booked a place to stay another night.

Next weekend I am traveling to Interlaken Switzerland!IMG_20160102_141643082 IMG_20160102_145119332_HDR IMG_20160102_161326490 IMG_20160102_154943489 IMG_20160206_110119031 IMG_20160206_141821046

It’s only been a week, and I already feel at home.

I have been in Italy for a week, and I can honestly say it feels like a second home to me. Just as New Paltz became a home away from home, Florence has been added to that list now too!

The travel was not fun. The first plan ride was about eight and a half hours, and the second was two hours. I did get lucky and catch some sleep on the plane, but regardless I was still exhausted by the time I actually arrived in Italy. I had lay over in Paris which went everything but smooth. Due to an hour delay leaving JFK International Airport I was pressed for time once I landed in Paris to get through customs again and make my connecting flight. The process was slow, and I along with twelve other girls in my program were told we did not make the flight in time and had to catch the next flight. After my study abroad advisor argued with the airline almost all of us were allowed to enter the plane. That was just added stress to the already stressful situation of leaving home for four months to live in another country. None the less, I made the flight and safely landed in Florence around noon.

Just when I thought things could not get worse I was told both my bags were left in Paris, and I would maybe get them the following day. At that point I just had to laugh about everything, because of course it would be just my luck to have this all happen in one day.  I did not worry to much, because I had planned for this and had extra clothes and stuff in my carry on. After all I was not left behind in Paris and had to take the next flight or not have any luggage at all. Understandably, my first impression if Italy was not the best, plus it was foggy, and I felt gross from traveling all day. I could not wait to get to my apartment, meet my new roommates and get something to eat. The apartment is nice and has all the basic necessities. I have three very sweet roommates named Nabi, Shaye and Sabrina.

After getting acclimated to my new home a few of us decided to walk around and explore the city a little. We saw the Ponte Vecchio and some of the duomos, and they were absolutely breath taking, the pictures do not do them justice. After seeing all that suddenly it did not matter the airline lost my luggage, the travel time was long or I had not eaten in twelve hours. I just felt so incredibly lucky to be able to call this city my new home, and get to enjoy its beauty every single day. That is the first impression of Florence that I actually count.

Also during my first week here, I began school. I honestly did not know what to expect the only things I had heard is that classes in Europe are much different and a lot harder than they are in the US. I did know there grading scale was going to be different, but other than that I was nervous to find out what exactly my new professors had in store for me this semester. After having gone to all my classes at least once now I am a lot more at ease. The school I am studying through, Florence University of the Arts, is organized very much like the academic structure I am used to at home. the teachers expect the same things with also an understanding we are also to here to travel and take in the culture. Many of my professors left time in each lecture to answer any questions we had about Italy. It is nice that majority of my classes once a week so the work does not get to over whelming. My most difficult class is probably my Italian class, because I have no prior knowledge of the language. I have it Monday- Friday for half of my program as a 6 credit intensive Italian course. I emphasise intensive. I am only three days into classes, and already speaking full phrases in Italian. I have never picked up a language this quick, and I took 12 years of Spanish. Being here has definitely given me strong motivation to learn as much of Italian as fast as possible.

Goodbye New York!?


I leave for Florence soon, and I still cannot picture myself there. Saying goodbye to friends and family does not feel real. It has not yet processed in my head this will be the last time I see them for a while. I will be missing out on birthday’s, and holidays with family.

It feels like I have been talking and preparing for this trip for what feels like forever, but it is finally right around the corner. I do not know if I am ready for it entirely, there is still so much to get and pack before then. That is something people who have traveled abroad do not mention is how hard it is to pack. You cannot pack everything, but you need to make sure you have enough. Depending on where you are going, you do not know if you  will be able to buy the same things you are used to at home. It is not just clothes you have to pack but towels, sheets, converters and anything else you might need for a four month long trip. I am lucky my program provides linens, but that is not always the case.

Even though it is normal to feel nervous I am also extremely excited for what the next four months will bring. I have friends who are in different programs in Italy, who are already there, telling me how much I will love it, and they make me more anxious to be there already. I will miss New Paltz, my family and friends, but at the same time this is such an amazing opportunity it is worth being a little homesick. I am very fortunate to be apart of the 3% of college students who study abroad.

I think the part I am most looking forward to is the food. I am looking forward to living in what is considered one of the best food capitals in the world. I have only heard good things about the city’s cuisine from past travelers. They all say how fresh everything is, and I will never taste anything quite like it. I definitely plan to eat my way through Italy!