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Letters from Abroad 1,2,3 Reasons to Love Bologna

Image Courtesy of Kitty Glick ’18

Image Courtesy of Kitty Glick ’18

Erin Bongo ‘18, Abroad Columnist

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Italy is one of my favorite countries in Europe, and it still hasn’t hit me that I’m living here for a whole semester. I could write a novel about why I love Italy, but in short I can try to sum it up with three main reasons.

Reason one: the food is absolutely incredible. Everyone told me how great the food would be before I left for abroad, but I really couldn’t comprehend it until I actually had it. Bologna is known for their tortellini and their Bolognese sauce. I’ve had both dishes and can’t even begin to describe how delicious they were. I never knew that my taste buds were capable of tasting such amazing flavors. Everything is so fresh, and so cheap. My roommates and I try to cook dinner a lot to save money.  When we go grocery shopping for the week it’s so inexpensive. It’s a lot of fun to cook together and learn new recipes.

Reason two: the Italian language is my favorite Romance language, it just sounds beautiful. Before coming here, I had taken three semesters of Italian at Dickinson, so I had a basic understanding of the language. Currently I’m taking an intermediate level of Italian at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies that Dickinson has a partnership with here. I love learning Italian in Italy because I get to practice and use it everyday outside of the classroom. A lot of the people in Bologna can speak a little bit of English, and they like to practice it with Americans, but they appreciate us trying to speak their language with them as well. I’ve gotten more involved in this city where I get to be submerged in the culture and use my Italian often. For starters, I’ve joined a club volleyball team, and my teammates speak little English, however a friend that I made on the team knows a bit of English. We’re able to have bilingual conversations though, which is pretty cool because we’re helping each other by speaking half Italian and half English. Also, I have a host family that lives around the corner from me is useful. They have me over for dinner once a week and I get to have an authentic (free!) meal with them. I also get to practice my Italian with their kids, but in return, the mother practices her English with me. I find the language exchange very interesting, and hopefully with all this practice I’ll be a lot better at speaking Italian by the end of the semester!

The third and most import reason why I love Italy is because of the history. Now, I’m not usually a history buff; I’m actually quite the opposite, being that I’m a math major. Yet, I’ve found that I’m in love with Italian history. The old architecture and art in this country is breathtaking. I’ve been lucky enough to have already traveled to Florence, Venice and Rome. Bologna is one of the easiest cities to travel from because the train station and airport go all over the rest of Italy and Europe. I’m also hoping that at some point I’ll be able to take a trip down to southern Italy as well. My family roots are from southern Italy, which is why the history of this country is so intriguing to me. My mother’s grandparents are from around Bari and my father’s grandparents are from Naples. It’ll be amazing to see where my family once lived and where they came from.

Each day I find a new reason for why I love this country and this city. Just when I think I’ve found the coolest building, best pizza place, or prettiest park here, something new comes out of nowhere that tops all the others. Bologna keeps me on my toes, so there is never a dull moment to be had here.

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Letters from Abroad 1,2,3 Reasons to Love Bologna