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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs Blog

Tasting, Breathing, and Living Siena.

Author Name

Madison Young

Author Program

Italy: Siena

Program Semester and Year

Spring 2015

During this beautiful experience that I’ve full-heartedly pursued for two weeks now, I’ve found my routine, passions, interests, and desires in this land that is becoming less and less foreign to me each day. Italy is complete with tradition, history, and purpose; to be a part of this is enlightening. I feel myself becoming a part of this culture instead of an observer of it – and for that I am grateful. I smile at the fact that I now coexist with so many elements, energies, and lifestyles that were completely alien to me just a few weeks ago. Having endured what feels like a month in Italy, I can now find time to reflect upon the Italian culture and what I believe makes it unique from elsewhere. I’ve listed some of my favorites; here goes:

> Italians will offer you food until the end of time.

> You will often come home to find your room completely re-organized and clean, and may even have a bouquet of fresh-cut Rosemary waiting for you on your desk. False alarm: your house has not been broken into; you just live with an Italian mother who gardens.

> Morning birds may find comfort in trying to nest in your clean underwear that’s pinned on the window clothesline to dry..

> The bread will crack a tooth if you don’t eat it the day it’s made.

> You will think everyone is always having an argument with each other. And then they laugh.

> Food isn’t considered food if it doesn’t have olive oil on it, in it, with it, or all of the above.

> Italians dress to the season, not to the weather.

This culture is bliss. Along with everything Siena has to offer are events and excursions to look forward to as well: This week I’ve gone to a natural Tuscany hot spring spa as well as will have a cooking class at a Siena cooking school, wine tasting at a local vineyard, balsamic tasting at a local balsamic vinegar estate, and day trip to Pisa. There’s no need to make a fuss about tripping on a cobblestone when you’ve got these adventures on your calendar!