Okay so maybe I missed the memo over here, but turns out that when you’re studying abroad, you actually have to GO TO CLASS. Which kind of cramps my three-and-a-half vacation across Europe a little bit, but you do what you have to do, I suppose.
Today I got up early to trudge through the rain to my first class, a 6 credit Italian class that meets every day at NINE O’ CLOCK IN THE MORNING. I’m not totally sure what possessed me to make this schedule back in April, but that’s okay. Anyway, the street system in Florence doesn’t follow a brand of logic that I can particularly follow. There are two kinds of numbers on the street- red and blue/black. Red (marked by an /r at the end of a number) marks a business, while no letter and just a number marks a personal space. These are scattered within each other (obviously, it’s a city) but each set follows their own number system, neither of which are really in order. How anyone finds anything in this place is seriously beyond me.
Somehow I found my Italian class, and then I headed off to Renaissance Theory of Love, a class that I had no idea what it was when I signed up (see a pattern here?) Thankfully, the class is about just this- what Renaissance thinkers thought about love- and is taught by a little American woman. Whenever she speaks, I just wonder what brought her to Italy; if she fell in love or studied abroad many years ago, if she has grown children back in the States who wish she would come home already.
The woman (whose name escapes me at this moment) was happy to see our 10 person class was entirely composed of girls, all of which whom are outspoken and involved. That’s yet another pattern I see here- almost every study abroad student is female. According to a 2012 StateNews.com article, females are roughly twice as likely to study abroad than men. In my three classes thus far, each one with between 10-15 students, only three students IN TOTAL are male.
Afterwards, I had Pairing Food with Wine (this is not real life). Giancarlo Russo, my sturdy Italian professor, told us how in his former life, he worked in Business and made a lot of money but was never very fulfilled. Fifteen years ago he quit and started his own restaurant, making his own wine. I can see his old Business self in his chiseled face, but his eccentricity in his pink pants and yellow glasses comes through stronger as he tells us that if a waiter ever opens our wine bottle in the back, we better hit him with a big stick. Whenever a student says that he/she is some kind of Business major, like Accounting or Marketing, I can see he looks a little sad for them.
When you’re walking the streets of Florence to get to class, plus you’re getting better and better at navigating without a map, class is a lot less sad to hike to. I won’t lie, though– it’s still class. Today is only my first day and already my notes are covered in doodles of flowers and hearts.