Sorry for the late posting, our hotel wifi broke! A few of us decided to go to the BSCP office and use their wifi to contact parents or, in my case, blog! And because of this inconvenience, I already ran out of my 3 GB of data on my Italian phone…wonderful (don’t freak mom and dad, I got another 2 more, and the wifi should be fixed soon!! I won’t be stranded <3).

So where we left off was our adventures of Saturday night. First, we went to an all-you-can -eat conveyor belt sushi restaurant…uhm, hello heaven?! Peep my videos section if you want to see the joyous occasion. Afterwards, we all went to a “discoteca” and learned that Italians really cannot dance. But alas, everyone still busted a move or two to Fergie’s “My Humps” and Spice Girls “Wannabe.” After that interesting adventure we all tried our first Italian crepes with Nutella and boy did my body hate me for that the next day…

Sunday was definitely was more of a chill day, as I slept until…well I’m not going to tell you when because my directors read this and I want to at least seem like a star student…Anyway, late that day we had a group dinner, watched one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen, The Lobster. If you want to be really frustrated at the end of the movie and feel like you need a good brain rest, I highly recommend it.

Monday we began language courses. We are split up into two groups with a different director each. Mine teacher, Christine, is seriously awesome. She’s as vivacious as a child but with the brilliance of a professor. Her class is pretty informal, so it’s not as intimidating and encourages us to engage a little more. These classes are meeting Monday-Friday from 10-1230 for the next two weeks. I definitely feel like they’ll get us in pretty good shape for the beginning of University of Bologna (UNIBO) classes. Afterwards, I had my first Italian piadina. Not only was it like tasting gold, but also they definitely do not skimp on servings…

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Now let’s get to the real storyline of this post. As you can see, I found my apartment!!! It’s located inside the walls of the city on the Western side as you can see on the map:

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It’s pretty cool because 8 of my friends are within 1-5 blocks of my apartment too! It’s in a really active place in the city too, so I will get to do a lot. The university is on the opposite side of the city center, but no more than a 25-30 minute walk, which is a great way to start the day. I might think about renting a bike too. The apartment is with a 30-something working guy (relax, dad) and a 20-something graduate student girl. They both are Italian, but speak fluent English, so it’s easy to communicate, but DON’T WORRY DANIELLE!!! They promised to speak to me in mainly Italian and correct me whenever needed (Danielle is one of our directors, for those who don’t know). The room is a single and it’s HUGE! It’s way bigger than I would have expected for any other Italian single, especially for its price. The bed is lofted, with a huge sofa underneath, two desks with chairs, and a one-person couch as well. It’s all-inclusive and fully-decorated, I don’t even need to buy bedding! There’s also a beautiful garden and balcony, and my view is amazing. And the best part? THERE IS A PUPPY!!! A 3-month-old puppy named Diana that I’m assuming is a yellow lab. She’s precious, and I can’t wait to love on her for the next 5 months!!!

After finding my apartment, it was time to celebrate! We went out for aperitivi and I got some beef tartare (yes, that’s raw beef) with a raw egg on top (I like raw things, if you haven’t noticed?). Jealous yet, dad?

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Today was the 2nd day of language classes and a meeting about picking classes. We learned about all of the differences between the Italian and American schooling, and began to search for classes we would be taking. It’s CRAZY different here! Each of their schools starts at a different time. The school of basically “humanities” starts January 30th, whereas political science starts February 12th, medicine another day, etc. And the classes are drastically different. The teachers are described as the “emperor” because they are so highly-respected and have quite a bit of power. We only have one exam (no homework, no papers, no projects, no tests, etc.), just one final oral exam (while some have been doing a few written exams in conjunction with or in place of the oral exam). Your final grade? JUST OUT OF 30!!! A 30 and a 29 are As, 28 an A-, 27 a B+, 26 a B-…etc. (for Notre Dame, at least). Stressful? Yes. But if you’re unhappy with your final grade, you can merely “deny” the grade and take it again! How cool is that? So that’s why people generally have over a month of exams, because you need time to retake and get the grade you want. Did I mention this was all in Italian only???

The classes also count differently. Where one class could last for 4 months, another could only be 2, another could be 3. It all varies, and some could be worth 12 credits, 6 credits, 3 credits, etc. It’s a very strange system, but they made a conversion chart for what would count for what for each of the schools. We must take at least 15 credits (a UNIBO 12-credit class counts as a 6 credit class for us, for example) but taking more is always helpful, in case you want to drop a class or just not accept the final grade.

This weird system is going to take a lot of getting used, and I’m going to really have to work on adjusting to the loose, more disorganized format, but it’s full-immersion for a reason! It’s really an exercise in other cultures and ways of life, which I think is vital to a well-rounded, cultured mind.

It’s 7 pm here in Bologna and they’re now kicking us out of the office (aka taking the wifi from us too), so I don’t even have time to proof-read this post…so all you grammar Nazis give me a break today!!!

And on tonight’s agenda? Karaoke. Stories to come.

 

Ciao,

– Alex