Published on September 5th, 2013 | by Rachel Budke2
My Course Schedule
I officially finished my first week of classes at Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence, Italy! This week has been pretty uneventful, other than going to classes, I haven’t done very much. We are all starting to realize that this is definitely not going to be a 4 month long vacation. Instead of being woken up by birds chirping and church bells ringing, we are starting to realize that construction workers and a (very loud) crying baby is a little more accurate. There are also a lot of mosquitoes here. I have a lot of bug bites, and 5 of them are on my face. On the bright side, I can make it to my classes without a map! Yay!
My courses are very fun, but at the same time, it’s still going to be a lot of work (or at least more than I was expecting). I am taking 5 classes: “The Science of Food, Health and Wellbeing”, “Current Trends in Italian Cuisine”, “Integrated Marketing Communications”, “Elementary Italian”, and “Wine Business and Marketing”. Each class meets once a week for 2.5 hours, except for my Italian class, which meets twice a week for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The first class I went to was “The Science of Food, Health and Wellbeing”. One of my roommates, Melanie, is in that class also. It seems like it’s going to be a lot of work, but since I obviously love cooking, I know that I will love it. We have 3 textbooks for that course, as well as one course guidebook. Since it is a class that is focused on nutrition, when we first walked it, we got to try some healthier versions of a typical Italian breakfast. Typically, Italians eat some sort of pastry and drink a cappuccino for breakfast. Instead, my professor let us try some different juices and teas, gave us espresso made in a Moka pot, and let us try some sort of breakfast cookie. We took a class visit to the Mercato Centrale, which is the big indoor food market in Florence. It was amazing. There is a huge selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, tuscan bread and pastries, and fresh meats and cheeses. We got to sample different balsamic vinegars, olive oil, and bread. It is only open until 2:00pm, so I haven’t had the opportunity to buy much there yet. The most exciting part about this class is that we get to take a field trip to Parma, Italy to see how to make parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar.
My other cooking class is “Current Trends in Italian Cuisine”. There are only 7 people in my class, which is nice. It seems like there will be a lot less homework in the class, compared to my other cooking class. During the first day, she showed us around the kitchen and taught us a little bit about basic knife skills. Then, she made us pasta with a lemon cream sauce. Normally, we will be divided into 3 groups and each group will make a recipe. There is quite a bit of focus on dish presentation, which will be fun to work on. We also visited the Mercato Centrale for this course, but didn’t stay very long because we were out of time.
My next class was “Integrated Marketing Communications”. It is one of my biggest classes in terms of sizes. It seems like it will be pretty discussion based, which I generally don’t like. Victoria is in that class with me, which I didn’t know until I walked in. Kind of funny because we share a room and didn’t know that we were in the same class! There is another girl, Becky, who I know in that class. She lives across the street from me, and was one of the girls I went to San Gimignano with. We discussed blogging and web design quite a lot, which is good because that is something that I am obviously familiar with.
Everyone in my “Elementary Italian” class is definitely a beginner. There is a lot of accidental Spanish/French being spoken from a few of people! Haha! Luckily, I practiced a little bit before coming here, otherwise it would have been more difficult. During the summer, I (sort of) used an app called MindSnacks, which teaches you vocabulary words. It is formatted in a fun way, so it’s easy to practice. It is about $5 in the iTunes store. There’s also really good app that my friend Emma showed me, called DuoLingo. It’s free and it teaches you sentence structures and grammar, which is something MindSnacks lacked.
My “Wine Business and Marketing” class isn’t until 6:00pm, which is kind of a bummer. It seems like it will be interesting, but I know I am going to be behind since I don’t know much about wine. During this class, we will have one field trip to a winery in Tuscany. Since it is a marketing class, the visit will be focused on how the quality of the wine, the packaging, and the price point are all related.
Other than classes, my other exciting news of the week is that I was chosen to receive a free trip to the French Riviera! Bus2Alps, a company that plans trips for students to go on during the semester abroad, hosted a free night bike tour and I decided to go to it. There was about 20-25 people who showed up. Biking in Florence is very difficult, especially with such a large group of people. We biked up to the top of the Piazzale Michelangelo, which was very difficult. I didn’t realize that we were going to be doing some very uphill biking, otherwise I wouldn’t have worn jeans. In all seriousness, an old man beat me to the top. Oops! When I got to the top and bought a bottle ofsparkling water, I was able to order it in Italian, but then I said “gracias” instead of “grazie”. Another oops! But, the trek was obviously worth it, because I signed up to be entered into a drawing to win a free trip to the French Riviera, and surprisingly, I won! Thank you so much, Bus2Alps!!!