Authored by:
Suzanna S.

One of the most exciting parts of this year, other than the year abroad itself, has been the trips I have taken with the STS/CIEE program. I recently went to Venice with a group of other exchange students.

I adore hearing how other students are doing and what they’ve discovered during their time thus far. It’s so refreshing to talk to individuals my own age about what I’m going through who are experiencing the same thing. Given the limited time frame and the fact that we are all connected by our common desire to live in France for a year, fast friends are easily made. I am sure that I will keep the relationships that I made in a five day trip to Venice for years.

Additionally, I got the chance to experience yet another culture. It’s fascinating how I could decipher Italian fairly well, given my French knowledge! So much changed for me while exploring a culture with other people instead of on my own. It’s much more comforting, and I noticed twice as much as I would have due to people pointing out differences.

Yes, the twelve hour overnight train was not ideal. Everything else, however, was just about as close to perfect as it could be. We were permitted to explore the city for short periods of time by ourselves, which was fantastic. A gondola ride was, of course, necessary. We were in Venice after all! It’s a truly magical city.

There were two islands off of the main city that we visited. One was the birthplace of blown glass, where we saw a man form a horse out of molten glass in the space of thirty seconds. We also visited a museum there, where there were antiques, sculptures, and some of the first glass beads. Adorable little creatures and figurines in brilliantly colored glass were everywhere in the windows. I bought so many tiny glass things; a family of cows, an orange octopus, a purple chicken, a hedgehog. They’re all no bigger than my eye!

The second island was the island of lace. There, we went to another museum, which was surprisingly interesting. There was hand woven and stitched pieces, and rich old specimens that had been worn by royalty.

Right in the middle of the touristic bit of the town, there was a giant, gorgeous building. It had ornate sculptures and marvelous paintings in every grand room. The architecture was astoundingly beautiful. We imagined what it would be like to live in such a palace of a place. The ceilings and walls were covered in murals depicting everything from war to love.

Even the houses were beautiful. The water was always a bright blue, the streets were all cobblestone. The waterways were everywhere; it was so funny to me that we had to turn around not because of dead ends, but because the street spontaneously turned into water at the ends of streets.

I had a fantastic time on this amazing trip. I met so many new people and made unforgettable memories. This world is full of wonders, that is certain.

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