Postcards from Prato

Ashley Arminio

Semester summary

UNH students studying in Tuscany will arrive back in America on Dec. 15 (Photo by Ashley Arminio/Charger Bulletin photo)
UNH students studying in Tuscany will arrive back in America on Dec. 15
(Photo by Ashley Arminio/Charger Bulletin photo)

My semester at the University of New Haven’s Prato campus has come to an end and I have so many feelings about leaving my new home.

I’ve learned so much about myself, Italian culture and language, and other people through all of the experiences I’ve had.

I’m so thankful for my professors here at the Tuscany campus for being so welcoming and eager to teach and be involved in our lives. I’ve had some of the best classes here, my favorite being Italian Life and Culture, which has opened my eyes to an extensive amount of history and lessons.

I’m thankful for the Prato community, who stalked our lives through Facebook and stared at us like we’re aliens; but overall for becoming a part of our experience and helping us adjust.

I’ll never forget the staff of the Betti Café, who always knew to have a Nutella Cornetto ready for me, and for asking about my exams and trips. I’m so thankful to have these people and places in my life, and that one day I’ll be able to come back and be familiar with the area.

Whether it’s catching buses at 3 a.m., sleeping in an airport, walking barefoot through Venice, staying up all night studying for art history with my roommates, teaching Italian students about America and English, seeing the Eiffel Tower light up at night, Oktoberfest, re-enacting the Beatles on Abbey Rd. in London, almost getting hit by a bike in Amsterdam, and seeing more churches on class field trips than I thought was humanly possible, this trip was all around the most insane experience I’ve ever had.

We’re wrapping up the trip with a concert at the new Prato campus with some of our Italian friends, as well as getting our conversation exchange certificates. Following that is a farewell dinner that will be later on this week.

The first lesson the group was told when arriving to Italy is “don’t be a visitor, be a guest,” which is a phrase that will stick with me forever.

One of the Italian students told me that if he had a Thanksgiving, he would tell his family that he is most thankful for happiness (grazie per happiness…), and I think that just about sums up my semester abroad here in Tuscany.