No sleep in Europe: An unforgettable study abroad experience

The view, from on top of the Florence Duomo. Photo by Chante Foster | The Signal

 

The view, from on top of the Florence Duomo. Photo by Chante Foster | The Signal
The view, from on top of the Florence Duomo.
Photo by Chante Foster | The Signal

It’s hard to sleep when you’re traveling approximately 4,283 miles from Atlanta to Italy to visit Milan, Venice, Pisa, Florence and Tuscany. Within 11 days, the Georgia State Students who embarked on the Global Business and Media study abroad trip to Italy, gained lasting friendship and unforgettable memories.

Throughout the week the group attended panel meetings to speak with corporate managers, and learn more about Italy’s economic situation.

 

Running to the Plane

One of the hardest parts about traveling to another country is catching your flight on time. With so many uncontrollable factors that get in the way of arriving to a destination on time, traveling with 18 students creates an exciting experience.

When we initially arrived to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, our connecting flight to New York was delayed, and in order to catch our next flight to Milan we had to run from one end of the terminal gates to the next.

The excitement was like a rush of adrenaline. The entire group was slightly on edge, because we weren’t sure if we would miss our plane. We were lucky enough to have Delta hold the flight from New York to Milan. As we quickly rushed from one plane to the next.

Buongiorno: The Best Day  

On the first day, our Milan itinerary was flooded with non-stop activities. We experienced our first Italian meal at Mama Rose, an osteria located in the heart of Milan. We were served red and white wine bruschetta, risotto and more. Despite language barriers, the service was amazing. The waiters made sure everything was perfect by keeping wine refilled, plates full and providing warm hospitality.

Georgia State students share a margarita pizza at the Mercato Centrale (Central Market). Photo by Chante Foster | The Signal
Georgia State students share a margarita pizza at the Mercato Centrale (Central Market).
Photo by Chante Foster | The Signal

Once we were stuffed from the meal, we headed back to the hotel and checked into our rooms. The cosy rooms were were small with two twin sized beds pushed closely together. Even when you tried to separate them, you were still close enough to touch the next bed. There was a little desk, with a T.V. that only had one channel.

What was interesting about most of the hotels in Italy was that a room card was needed to turn the lights on and off. There are also long cords in every shower, that should only be pulled incase of an emergency, however most students pulled the cord out of curiosity.

Back at the hotel, students were given just enough time to change their clothes and report back downstairs for our first business panel meeting at the Coca-Cola headquarters in Milan.

Once the meeting was over, we walked back to the hotel, to change and get ready for our guided tour of Milan. As we walked through historical landmarks such as the Galleria, Sforza Castle, and Duomo di Milano our mouths were wide open as we gazed at the massive structures.

____________________________

Taking in the Scenery: What to do when you get there

  • Milan: Shopping is must while in Milan. There are plenty of little boutiques and luxury retail shops like Gucci and Channel.
  • Venice: Traveling to Venice is like going back in time. There are no roads, only small islands, and the only form of transportation is using a boat. The water is bright green and there are tiny family owned shops that sell handmade glass objects, leather accessories, masquerade mask and more.

    An empty gondola floating on a canal in Venice. Photo by Chante Foster | The Signal
    An empty gondola floating on a canal in Venice.
    Photo by Chante Foster | The Signal
  • Pisa: In Pisa, we walked the leaning tower, which was difficult because the stairs were slightly curved, and the passageway was narrow.

    Pounce tilting the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Photo by Chante Foster | The Signal
    Pounce tilting the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
    Photo by Chante Foster | The Signal
  • Florence: One of the most exciting things that we did as group in was visit the dome tower at the Duomo (cathedral) in Florence. Walking up nearly 400 plus stairs is exhausting, but it’s worth the pain.The view at the top of the Duomo was breathtaking, and unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. We took a few minutes to relax after the long walk upstairs, to enjoy the cool breeze.

    The biggest Duomo Milan, is the fifth largest cathedral in the world. Photo by Chante Foster | The Signal
    The biggest Duomo Milan, is the fifth largest cathedral in the world.
    Photo by Chante Foster | The Signal

When we weren’t in meetings there was plenty of time to explore the cities, purchase souvenirs, try new foods, and experience Italy’s nightlife.

__________________________________

Traveling Tips

  • Keep up with your passport. Make sure that it’s in a secure location. One of the scariest things that can happened to anyone is losing a passport while trying to enter customs in another country.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of money. Pickpockets are a major threat to tourist that are traveling.
  • Have a comfortable pair of shoes that are broken in.
  • Take a good jacket with light installations and a hood, because weather can be very unpredictable.
  • Get to know a local, even if there are language barriers, try to make friendly conversation.
  • Try something new everyday, remember to have fun and explore. It’s ok to go off, but always tell someone where you’re going.
  • Always be aware of your surrounding.

Stepping outside of the classroom helps students gain a greater appreciation for their education. Studying abroad is a great opportunity for students to expand their education by visiting  another country, while getting credit towards their major. One of the best parts about studying in another country is the cross cultural experiences, that come from learning about the history, tasting the food, and making new friends.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*