Italian Adventures: A cultural experience

In January, five Bachelor of Communication students travelled to Florence, Italy for a short course in fashion media and communication.

Amy Theodore tells of her cultural experience in the great land of art, food and fashion. 

Amy  on a bridge over a canal in Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy

My first overseas European adventure was in July last year, and it’s safe to say the travel bug bit me hard. So my decision to study overseas probably had a lot more to do with the idea of going to a foreign country than actually learning anything.

As interesting and intriguing as the course was, nothing can beat the chance to explore Italian lands.

The beauty of living in Europe is another, completely different destination is only an hour or two away

The majority of my time was spent in Florence where my course was run. Like most European countries, the place was beautiful and unlike anything you’ll find here at home. It also has a few famous sites you can tick off your bucket list, including the Duomo, Michelangelo’s statute of David and the Ponte Vecchio, as well as a beautiful lookout that is amazing at sunset.

As lovely as Florence is, it’s also quite small, and you probably only need a max of three days to check it all out. But the beauty of living in Europe is another, completely different destination is only an hour or two away.

Amy supporting the Tower of Pisa's leanMy first weekend was a day trip to Pisa. Yes, I went to the leaning tower and yes, I got some seriously cheesy tourist photos, but don’t judge! I promise you if you go all that way and don’t do it, you will regret it.

To my delight I discovered you could also climb the tower. I’ll be honest the price is a bit of a rip-off, and it’s quite a long, spiral climb to the top, with many stops along the way to ensure I didn’t fall over from dizziness, but the view is definitely worth it!

Every corner you turn is more beautiful and amazing than the next

I also took a weekend trip to Venice. This was definitely the highlight of my time, and to anyone thinking about going anywhere, I would say make sure Venice is top on your list. It really does feel like you’re on another planet. The vibrantly coloured buildings, the canals, the gondolas and those cute little bridges; every corner you turn is more beautiful and amazing than the next.

Despite the constant rain, which meant I was walking around the flooded city on tables the next day, I still embarked on a gondola ride. This was another quite expensive venture, and even though I had umbrellas hindering my view, it was also worth it.

This leads me to my next travel tip; never travel in winter, unless you intend to visit the snow. Walking around in the cold, wind and rain and having to carry an umbrella constantly, can be a bit of a nuisance. Plus it really hinders your ability to get good selfies with monuments.

Amy in Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy

We all need to make sure in our lifetimes, even if it’s just once, that we get to experience a world and a culture completely different from our own

And, of course, a description of Italy wouldn’t be complete without the honourable mention of that amazing food! The first things that probably spring to your mind are pizza and pasta, and that’s basically what’s on the menu, but it is the best pizza and pasta you will ever consume in your life!  That and the gelato and waffles and crepes! It’s worth going there just for the food experience.

Whether you’ve got an adventure coming up, are making plans, or are even just considering checking out what’s abroad, as much as this is suppose to be about the wonders of Italy, I really just hope this gives you motivation to get out there. I think we all need to make sure in our lifetimes, even if it’s just once, that we get to experience a world and a culture completely different from our own.

Interested in study a short course or semester aboard?
The university’s International Office can guide you through the process.
Find out more information here

Images: Amy Theodore