Hi, everyone! I am going to do my best at documenting this journey to the land of Italy by posting updates and photos to this blog. I hope to post a daily photo or two and description of the day, but who knows if there will always be adequate time for that. We’ll see when I get there! I am sure that I will regularly post more of my photos in albums on Facebook, for those who would like to see more of a photo journal.
So, when did I decide to go on this adventure? Is this okay to do during your senior year of college? Most students do this during their sophomore or junior year! I understand I am doing this a little later than most students, but better late than never, especially in this case. I was inspired by the study abroad fair that happens one day each semester sprawled out on the U of A Mall. There is a long line of tents that have the names of countries and regions of the world, people with accents, brochure upon brochure, and the flames of dreams are flickering in the eyes of many hopeful students. I picked up pretty much every paper made available to me from each country! I would scour through these and just get lost in all of the possibilities. I had told my academic advisor, Maggie, that I was interested in studying abroad, and she gave me a brochure for the Arizona in Italy program (I had probably picked up this same brochure at the five previous study abroad fairs that I had seen on the Mall) and she encouraged me to apply! Finally, after years of dancing around actually going for it, and reading through many other brochures about programs in Africa, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Ukraine, Columbia, Japan, France, amongst many others, I decided that the Arizona in Italy program seemed to be the place for me!
Where in Italy am I going? Orvieto! The Arizona in Italy site (http://www.arizonainitaly.org/) describes the scene as such:
“The town of Orvieto is located in central Italy, in Umbria, the region known as “the green heart of Italy”. It stands high on a tufa plateau with cliff walls falling sheer to the valley below.
The town is located just off the A-1 toll autostrada, the principal north-south superhighway of central Italy, and on the express railroad line, la Direttissima, both of which link it quickly to major cities north and south.”
Arizona in Italy is a direct credit transfer program that is centered in Orvieto. This program is direct credit because it is a program in collaboration with the U of A that UA professors go on and teach. So, it is not a third party program that has me study through another university. I did not have to apply to another school and be accepted, I just had to apply for the program itself and nothing else. Applying was very enthralling for me. Before you can start the application, you must go to a Study Abroad 101 course. It is an hour-long meeting for all who are interested. They go over health and safety precautions for other countries, and show pictures and a student-made video documenting their experience. Applying is done almost completely online and you get to check off little boxes with each task. There are many things to do, like get your passport, make a personal statement, obtain letters of recommendation from professors, read through pre-departure orientation things, and get a check-up to ensure you are healthy or identify what may be needed for you on this trip, if not. I have officially accomplished getting each box checked off and my application is totally complete. It feels so good!!
You can click on the pictures to see them larger.