After settling in, I can say that this week went really well. I can already tell that my Italian is progressing, and it is becoming easier to speak without thinking too much, although I still have a long way to go. Hopefully by the end of the first month of classes with Boston University, I will be ready to take the other two courses at Università degli Studi di Padova.
We spent two days in orientation with the program coordinators and professors. There are only three professors at the Boston center, teaching Italian Migrant Literature, Italian Immigration and Emigration, Jews & Christians in Italy, Topics in Italian Music History, and two levels of Italian Language. Some of the other students in the program are taking more than two courses there, but I’m only taking Italian Music History and Advanced Italian. The professors seem really nice, and similar to my host family, they speak very clearly, so we are all very happy about that.
The Boston center has two or so classrooms, a small Library, two or so office spaces, and two small study spaces with computers. It’s centrally located, which is nice. My current course schedule is
Advanced Italian Practicum from 9.15am-11.00am and Italian Music History from 15.15pm-17.00pm (sorry for the military time, but that’s how they do it here) on Mondays and Wednesdays.
On Thursday, we were treated to a really fancy lunch, and so I took the opportunity to order stuffed zucchini flowers, which were amazing! We spent the rest of Orientation talking about our home stays, emergency procedures, and what to do in Padova. We also got a brief tour of the city from one of the Professors, which was helpful. We hit the main spots, but the best part was seeing the Basilica di Sant’Antonio. The opulence and grandiosity were certainly awe-inspiring, but it clearly weighs heavily on the congregation, as it is meant to do.
I also had to take an entrance Italian language test on Friday morning. I knew it wasn’t going to be terribly difficult, especially since Professors Kuhn, Perrone, and Paparcone at Bucknell (not to mention the fabulous TAs) taught me so well. Nevertheless, I still found the need to cram the night before on the really difficult grammatical components, like trapassato remote, i pronomi dopi, ecc.
Finally, I spent the weekend exploring the city further. Even after the tour, I felt like I needed to get lost, on purpose, and find my way around Padova. It was actually very helpful. I also took that opportunity to walk around the Saturday clothes markets in the
Prato della Valle, and the food markets around the Palazzo della
Ragione. More importantly, I wanted to know where all the bookstores, print-shops, libraries, and cafeterias were, in addition to the Padova Political Science Department.
Speaking of the cafeterias, we did get to try the cafeteria, or la mensa, during Orientation. Honestly, it was a pretty standard cafeteria, but I loved how the standard table ingredients at every table were olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The prices are reasonable, and the food was very good. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about that later.
For now, basta così.