Getting on the plane to Italy I wasn’t struck with the weight of the situation. For weeks before I had been worried and excited. Worried that I would hate my host family and that being in a different country would make me super homesick, though I was never worried about the language. On the plane to Pisa it turned out that almost all of us were going to Siena, which made it easier to know what I was getting into. Once we got off the plane in Pisa we all bonded slightly, as we were all in the same boat and definitely all nervous. We got on the bus and made our way to Siena where all our families were waiting in a parking lot, excited to meet us. That’s where is got really scary, especially as I came to be one of the last to be called.
As it turned out my host family lives inside the walls and so Lavinia (the program director) drove me and another student into the walls to meet the family. An older woman, a boy and two dogs came by and turned out to be picking me up!! It was super cool to see dogs and as we walked to the house I was able to talk to the boy, Alberto, which made everything ten times better. When we finally got to the apartment, I couldn’t believe it…. They lived right next to the Duomo, like shared a wall with it. I still haven’t gotten over how it is to only have to walk five minutes to get anywhere, and to get to come home to a gorgeous church every day. Once I got to the house everyone was so nice, and when the Mom got home she was very sweet and everyone made sure I was doing what I needed to be doing. While I was a little homesick the first night, everything was welcoming and the whole family made sure I was comfortable. Alberto, my host brother was great to talk to and it was nice, and still is, to have a younger kid to hang out with and talk to.
The next day orientation started bright and early. Orientation was easy and provided a nice transition before we started our intensive Italian. I’m horrible with names and considering there are 50 people in our program, it took me a while to remember them all. Don’t worry, I think I’ve finally got them….. We got to go on a tour of Siena, which I found very helpful to orient myself, but we also had down time to get to know each other. Now we’ve moved into our intensive classes and will soon be going on a trip to the Alps! Siena is a wonderful city to be in, and I love my host family. Though I had a lot of worried, I’m very happy with how my semester is going, my host family and the friends I’ve made.
Sabina is a current student at Muhlenberg College studying at Siena Italian Studies in Italy during the Sprig 2015 term.