Rachel Boyd – Public Sociology – Level 3

Venice, Italy

Having missed out on a previous opportunity to study abroad, I jumped at the chance to visit Ca’ Forscari even if it was only for a week. There was so much that I was looking forward to about our visit. The chance to see what the university life of other countries was like, see the styles of learning they used was one that was academically exciting. However, there was also the chance to experience the lifestyle of Venice, a city that is vastly different to anywhere I have been in Scotland.

I had many ideas of how the experience would be, but was incredibly surprised by just how incredible it truly was. The university itself was amazing, it had such a different style, the buildings themselves have such an intriguing history. The lectures that we got to attend brought upon plenty of discussion and thought onto the similarities between Scotland and Italy in a variety of sectors.

The city of Venice was even better than I could have ever imagined. The city had such a variety of atmospheres depending on the location, from the bustling hectic city vibe of San Marco square, to the hidden area by a vaporetto stop behind our hotel that had one of the most breath-taking views looking out towards the islands. One of the best parts about the trip though, has to have been the balance between being able to learn from the university, but also being able to have the time to explore and discover more about the city during some free time.

My absolute favourite part of the trip happened on our day off from the university, where we were allowed the whole day to go off and experience Venice. After spending the morning visiting the three main smaller islands around Venice, a group of us had decided to visit the San Marco Basilica. After a stressful detour thanks to a bridge being closed off, we made it to the Basilica on time. Words cannot possibly describe just how stunningly beautiful the building is. It is simply something you have to see and experience for yourself. The best part however happened by chance. After discovering that there was a way to get upstairs – via the most terrifyingly old, and uneven staircase – we made our way out onto the terrace. This gave a great view over San Marco square, and the huge crowds that gather there. My highlight of the trip occurred just as we were out there, and a thunder storm started. Seeing the busy square below become completely empty in a matter of seconds is something which not everyone can say they have seen, but I have, and it was spectacular.

I think that anyone that gets a chance like this should go for it. The experience you gain will last forever with you. You gain a knowledge of how other people live, and you get to use this experience to your own benefit. It might even do what it did for me, and make you finally make that plunge, and get serious about learning Italian so that you could make a life happen in your newly found favourite city.

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