Just under two weeks until I depart. I’ll start with the good news; I was awarded the WCCCSA (Washington Community College Consortium for Study Abroad) scholarship! I’m very grateful for these additional funds; it will make money less tight and allow me to do some additional travel on the weekends.
I have to say I’m getting more nervous, especially as I get down to making some of my final decisions before I leave. Like purchasing my rail pass, there are some portions of my trip that are cheaper to buy separately than using the pass for those days. The other thing I’m wondering about is mailing items home as I go, or shipping a single piece of luggage at the end of my school quarter before I head out on my independent travel.
Since last time I wrote I have found out information about my travel partners and some of what will go on while I’m away. I will be in Florence with three other Washington Community College students, all female. I will be the oldest out of the group. Another girl and I will be arriving the day before the programs official start date, but we will be allowed to get into our apartments. Such good news, that means a few extra euros I don’t have to spend on a hostel bed for the night. I should be receiving the address within the next couple days! I have purchased a map of Florence so I’m excited to plot it out. I have also received the address where I can receive mail if anyone is interested. However they advise not sending care packages, they can take a long time to get through customs and I may have to pay for what you send, if it is food it might cost more than what the item is worth. The address is:
AIFS c/o ABC
Via De’ Rustici, 7
50122 Florence, Italy
I will also be checking my Hotmail account periodically, so if you email me I’m get it at some point. I will not however be bringing a cell phone and our apartment will not have a phone.
I have also learned what some of the extra activities will be, for a small subsidized fee, cooking classes, wine tastings, and a trip to Sienna and one to Sorrento which I have already signed up for. The one to Sorrento also visits Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius which were on the top of my list of must see places. Since our program is organized through AIFS (American Institute for Foreign Study) we have people helping us in the offices at the address listed above to help us with any problems, to organize additional activities we might want to do, and even to help us plan additional travels. I’m really happy to have such an experienced company and people to aid us in this new experience.
I have also found a tour company that organizes tours geared for students studying abroad, meaning you arrive to the city you want to explore on Thursday night on Friday morning they show you around the town hitting the major sights organizing special things to do like a class on how to make sangria in Barcelona, they even have a cultural scavenger hunt on that tour. Then you go back to your base city on Sunday.
I should sign off and get to some homework since I have to cross those things off my list before I can leave.
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