Postcards from Prato

Samantha Higgins

Time in Prato coming to an end.

Riomaggiore, one of the little towns that makes up Cinque Terre (Samantha Higgins/Charger Bulletin Photo)
Riomaggiore, one of the little towns that makes up Cinque Terre (Samantha Higgins/Charger Bulletin Photo)

Well, this is it. By the time you read this we will be more than halfway through Finals Week; our journey here in Prato is coming to an end.

Last week we finished classes and reviewed for finals, students went to Venice, Genoa and Germany, and I personally took a last minute trip with friends to Cinque Terre. This last minute trip was a perfect way to celebrate the end of classes and beginning of finals for me. The view was absolutely breathtaking. The water was gorgeous and the colors of the buildings were so vivid I took as many pictures as I could, but they, like all others, do no justice to the absolute beauty of the location.

We finished Conversation Exchange this week and had a photo contest where each student was able to enter photos they have taken throughout the semester. Categories of the contest included People, Nature, and Places. Once entered everyone came together for pizza and we all got to vote on the winners in each category. It was a great way to not only get everyone together, but to get a chance to see where everyone else has been throughout the semester.

The Food Quality class also took its last trip last week to a frozen pizza factory called Food Italia. We got to see the machinery and the preparation process of the pizza and sandwiches, and all the care that goes into making sure there is no contamination. Each student had to wear hair nets, a jacket over their clothes and plastic on their shoes and wash their hands before entering. It was a very interesting experience!

This week we have finals and Prato Campus Week, finally. We have been hearing about it all semester. We have our last week of Soccer Monday, then Prato Campus Week begins Tuesday with events at Monash, the Australian college that is also in Prato. Events throughout the week include a “speedy” conversation exchange, an Australian Barbeque, lectures about various topics, a band that will go through the streets playing music, concerts, and Saturday there is the run/walk for everyone. In addition to all these activities and finals, Thursday night, after finals are completed, we have our Farewell Dinner. If it is anything like the Welcome Dinner, it will be yet another amazing meal full of wonderful memories for everyone here.

Studying in Prato has been the best experience of my life. Having the opportunity to study here is a wonderful chance for everyone at UNH. After being here I think that everyone should study abroad, it doesn’t have to be here, but the things I’ve seen and done here have been amazing. The campus, trips, meal plan, classes, and staff are all great aspects of Prato. Anyone who never considered it, or who has, but got nervous, and those who have been on the fence about it should just take the leap and hand in an application to study abroad. Don’t worry about money, classes, or anything; hand in an application then work with the staff to figure things out so it works for you. For every step of the process there are people who can help you with everything you need.

All in all, I haven’t even left Prato yet and I already want to come back. I want to plan my next semester or trip to Italy, or maybe just Europe, but somewhere. The experiences I have had here have been more than everything I ever imagined, I took more than 1,000 pictures just to remember and try to share the experience with everyone I can. I highly encourage everyone to study abroad, go outside their comfort zones and experience another culture, language, food, and life.