Postcards from Prato

Samantha Higgins

Winding down

Photo by Samantha Higgins
Photo by Samantha Higgins

The semester is dying down here in Prato. Final projects are due, reviews are being talked about, and people are finishing up last minute trips before we head back to the U.S. when all of Europe is no longer as easily accessible.

The week started with a bang with a different style soccer game; we made a competition out of it. Teams could sign up, and one of the teams that played was the Staff Dream Team; a team from Wisconsin Madison again, and the two other teams were made up of UNH students. The game was intense, with the Staff Dream Team taking the final win. It was definitely a highlight of our time here.

Along with soccer, we had Viva l’Italia beforehand, so students could learn more about Italian emigration and walk to the field for soccer together before eating together for our weekly group dinner. It’s a great weekly event here that a lot of students have fun participating in. You get to learn something new, then go have some friendly competition on the soccer field!

After conversation exchange on Tuesday, Wednesday night was the final tasting event of the semester. It was Easter-themed, which was great since none of us would make it home for the holiday. It featured sweets and Vin Santo wine. After the tasting, staff organized a Boys and Girls Night at Mokha, one of the restaurants on our meal plan, to get everyone together for a dinner before the long weekend.

To go with our nightly events this week, we had an activity for the Italian classes. We have already had an activity where we got to know the local Italian university; PIN, and the local Market that is held on Mondays. This final activity was at the library, where students paired off into groups to answer worksheets that required them to find particular books, CDs or DVDs and fill in the blanks provided. Participants had to speak with the librarians and answer questions about the different sections and books available. It was a lot of fun and was a good way to get out of the classroom again and still build up our vocabulary.

With this past weekend being not only a four day weekend, but one of our last long weekends here, many students took advantage of this opportunity to travel or have family come. Students went to Venice, Verona, Greece, and many other places. I personally got to see Dublin, Edinburgh and Rome. It was the chance of a lifetime and it was beautiful.

In Dublin, I took advantage of a Hop-on Hop-off tour, which not only got me to all the sites in the city like Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse, the Castle, and Abbey Street, but gave me all the history of it as well.

I also got to see a show in the theater before I left for Edinburgh where I got to see The Royal Botanical Gardens, the Castle and do a free walking tour that included St. Giles’ Cathedral, the original “Hogwarts,” the National Museum and so much more. The best part was that the walking tour was absolutely free!

All in all it was another successful week here. Only a few more to go; some people are anxious to get home, and, while I do miss home, the opportunities here are amazing. No more big trips planned for me, but more trips to Florence, finals, and Prato Campus Week are right around the corner!