Sunday, June 1, 2014

I am in Paris now, a lovely and beautiful city. It was my second day in Paris, and today was a busy day exploring Paris. I went to Paris two hours early yesterday, and then Sydney S, and Rebecca met me in our hotel. We went to the Musee du Louvre in the early morning because we did not want to wait in the line for buying tickets. I heard that usually people sent at least 3 hours to get tickets. We were so lucky that we found a fast pass ticket way in the exit of Metro station, and we only waited for 10 minuets in the line. When we got in the Louvre, we were so surprised and exciting. Louvre was much huge than we though before. There were many different sections. And most of the art was famous in the world. I never thought I could see Mona Lisa by my own eyes in one day, but today I did it – I have seen the most famous painting in the world. It was in a private room, but smaller than I imagined before. It was like a dream, I could not imagine how lucky I was.  We spend a few hours in Louvre. And then we went straight the way from Louvre to Champs Elysees Clemenceau to Charles de Gaulle Etolle. In the noon, we went to Eiffel Tour. We took many pictures by the anther side of river. We spend a few hours sitting on the park near the Eiffel Tour and took lots of pictures. It was too beautiful to leave.
I am so glad that I decided to go to Paris after this program finished, and so happy that traveling with Sydney S, and Rebecca. And, they really knew how to picked up good food in Paris. However, at the same time, while we passed by ice-cream store, it reminded us about Italy. So lucky that this program brought all of us together to Rome, and also gave me a chance to visit Paris and exploring European countries. We spent great two month together like a big family. Let’s all keep in touch, and meet in Seattle.
Ciao!! Have a great summer vacation!!!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ciao everyone!!
Today, Jess and I finished off our trip by visiting all of our favorite tourist spots - the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and the wedding cake building in Piazza Venezia! It was so nice to see all of our favorites once more, and then to watch the sunset from the bridge on our way back to our apartment. We enjoyed our last (few) gelato servings and said goodbye to a few of our newfound friends. It's going to be so bittersweet to leave in the morning! We can't wait to go home and see all of our families and friends, but it's so sad to leave this beautiful city! Ciao Rome!!
xoxo, Natalie Hostetter

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 27th

Today is a studying day for me. After wake up in the morning, I started to do my final research paper and final presentation. My research paper focused on Chinese immigrants in Italy. I felt so lucky that I had a Chinese background and I could use my bilingual skill as a resource to talk to Chinese immigrants in Italy. I found many good information about how Chinese immigrants view Italian people and education. I also found many good articles to improve my research. Cloudia and I, we studied the whole afternoon. After the long time studying, we felt really need a break. We went together to get gelato place called Blue Ice in the piazza near our apartment. The piazza was full of tourist, and we saw a performance there. While we were eating, we were eating gelato and joining the sunshine. I suddenly felt how interesting Rome’s life was. I realized I am leaving this lovely place in two days.
After gelato time, we went back home and kept working on our final presentation PowerPoint. I hope the time go faster because I hope I can finish my works, but at the same time, I want the time just stopping here because I wanted to stay in Rome a little bit longer.

Today we had our final presentations!! We're officially done for the year! We arrived at the Rome Center at noon to a beautiful spread of food that Stephanie had prepared for our lunch - so much delicious food! We started our presentations off with Julie, Natalie, Lorraine, and Shontia's presentation on "Immigrants living in Italy as non-citizens", followed by Christina, Veronika, Sydney S, Claudia, and Madeleine's group, whose presentation was about "The setbacks and advancements of intercultural interactions in Italian schools". Next was Sydeny P and Rainy's presentation on "Special Education in Italy", and lastly was my group, consisting of James, Rebecca and I, and our presentation was on "Educational funding in Italy". It was a nice way to wrap up the quarter and after each presentation we had a group discussion to make sure we all were up to date on the topic. Afterwards we went to check out, since a lot of people leave tomorrow! (I hope everyone traveling after the program has a wonderful time!!) We got back to our apartment after class and did as much packing as we could, and now we're about to leave for our very last group dinner! It's going to be so bittersweet to leave, but I can honestly say I've never been so homesick and I can't wait to fly home to Issaquah, Washington early Friday afternoon. Ciao, Roma!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

Blog by Sydney Staples

For starters, Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all who served our country. You are appreciated and never forgotten! Today was a special day. My roommate woke me up because I no longer have a cell phone with an alarm! I threw on some clothes that wouldn’t rub against my burnt body too harshly, brushed my teeth and was out the door within 20 minutes! I headed to class a little early to prepare for my last final as a junior at the University of Washington! Where has the time gone?! I feel like I was just a freshman at UW. Now I am preparing to fly home from Italy as a legal adult, about to start her senior year of college! After I killed my final, I walked back to my apartment to grab my laptop and meet my final presentation group at the Rome Center. We needed to work on our powerpoint presentation for Wednesday! After spending some time on creating an appealing slide show, we grabbed lunch at our favorite kebab shop near school. After I ate, I met Veronika at Stephanie’s coffee shop near Campo di Fiori. I updated my journal for an hour or so and then went back to my apartment to take a nap. I am currently as red as a tomato, and the sun sucked the energy out of me yesterday, so I needed some rest. I woke up at 6pm and skyped my mother and little sister, and it made my day. I love skyping my friends and family because I feel so close to them again, rather than half way across the world. It was great to hear their voices and see their faces. Two more weeks and I’m comin’ for ya!! Then my apartment and I left for dinner with the program at a fancy Italian restaurant James picked out. Because we have a lot of money left in our food budget, we were each able to spend about 40 euro on our meal. I got bruschetta with tomatoes, a caprese salad, mixed vegetables, and 3-colored pasta with smoke salmon and provolone cheese! It was delicious! For dessert, most of the group got a Tiramisu. Being the garbage gut of the group, I cleaned two other plates because they were too full. I have the biggest sweet tooth in the world! We caught the 44 home and I tried to skype my grandparents, but they didn’t answer my call. I decided to plug in to Pandora and catch up on my social media, and chat with my friends on Messenger. All in all, it was a chill day, filled with fruit, friends, family, and fooooooood. Now it’s bed time! Thanks for listening to my blog these past two months! I had an incredible experience here in Italy. Off to Paris on Thursday! Ciao everyone, and take care!

Sunday May 25th, 2014

Today on this beautiful HOT sunny Sunday in Rome I woke up very early for beach day! I always wanted to go to a beach near Rome and I decided to go with Sperlonga! I went with Sydney, James, Rebecca and this guy name Matteo who was Sydney’s friend. We all meet up around 10am to catch the train at the Termini and we barely made it in time to catch the train. The train was headed towards Naples and it was super packed and there were no seats so we had to stand for half of our journey. That was my first time having to stand on a train and it wasn’t fun lol. Then when we got to Fondi-Sperlonga we also had to take a bus that was jam packed! But when we finally arrived to Sperlonga at the beach it was all worth it because it was beautiful! I mean I felt like I was in paradise, the sky was clear and the water was aqua blue. We went down to the beach and just laid out and they all tanned and we got in the water! It was just such a fun but relaxing day which is just what I needed! I haven’t went swimming in so long, it felt so good to swim! We also had these drinks on the beach that reminded me of snow cones, it was crushed up ice and flavored syrup on top of it… Yummm J We stayed there until the last bus came around 7:40pm and I we didn’t get back to Rome until around 9:30pm so we were all beat. Also Sydney and James got sunburn and were really red after we got back lol but I think we all thought today was just amazing! I can’t believe many of us are a few days away from going back home! I’m going to enjoy my last few days here but look forward to being home with my loved ones!

- Shontia Copeland-Walton

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday May 25!

So today was my last Saturday in Rome! It's crazy how time has flown by. Today Shontia and I decided to go to the park Villa Borghese. It was such a beautiful park! We went specifically to row a boat! It was such a great experience. It was my first time rowing a boat and it is harder than it looks. We got some cute pictures and enjoyed the full 20 minutes on the water. We saw a turtle floating around and it was fun watching other people struggling to row their boat just like we were haha. After the park I went to my favorite coffee shop in Trastevere called No Name Bar where I interviewed an Italian about his schooling experience. I learned new things about the education system in Italy and it was just nice getting to learn more about a person in Italy. After that, Sydney and I walked to Shontia's apartment to watch a movie. We watched The Walk of Shame which was such a hilarious movie! I totally recommend it if you want a good laugh :) Sydney and I then headed back to our apartment and we were just loving the night life atmosphere in Rome. Everyone seemed to be out having a great time. As always there were so many young people out and that is something that I will miss a lot when I am back in the U.S. I will miss walking out of my apartment at night and feeling safe to walk around the streets, seeing young people, being able to go in and out of restaurants, bars, and clubs at a late hour at night. My time here is getting bittersweet. I am taking in as much as I can but at the same time I am excited to be back home with my friends and family!