My first impressions of Perugia were through tired eyes. After two flights and a two-hour bus ride, I finally made it to this hillside city. Despite my jet lag, the city did not disappoint. Within an hour of arriving, I had already ordered my first gelato and was busy walking through the streets. The medieval facades and buildings painted in shades of orange and yellow look exactly like the photos on travel blogs, but never did I imagine I’d be living in such a picturesque place for four months. My first week has been spent exploring this medieval city. Among my finds, I’ve gone ice-skating on the local outdoor rink, discovered every pizzeria within walking distance of my apartment, and of course, taken too many photos (if there even is such a thing).
Perhaps the best part of my time abroad so far has been our group trip to the Orsini Farm on the Trasimeno Lake. Despite the rain, the lake was still beautiful, bracketed with hills and mist as it was. The day trip is part of Arcadia’s orientation and was a day filled with friends, food, and tradition. The Orsini family was nice enough to host us curious American students for a lunch that included homemade pasta, which we all learned how to make. With a recipe as simple as eggs and flour, I may have to give up boxed pasta entirely. The entire lunch, from the pasta to the cheese to the wine, all came from the farm. I thought I had access to fresh food at home, but there’s nothing quite like a literal farm-to-table meal.
When studying abroad, I think it’s important to remember that we go through all the stress of packing and lengthy flights so that we can reach a new place. It’s a lot of work to prepare to go abroad, but the most important thing I brought isn’t in my suitcase, it’s me. As classes begin and I continue to explore further, I’m looking forward to all the new places, new experiences, and new finds that come with the territory of studying abroad. Most of all, I’m excited to have Perugia as my new home for the semester, and I intend to embrace my time here to the fullest.