Graduation and Nearly Not Flying Home

The “graduation” reception at the Domus Academy for our two weeks of school felt like a high school dance but with an open bar. The crowd chilled and socialized until word got out to the local gang of mosquitoes that there was plenty of flesh and blood to be had on the terrace in the Nuova Accademia delle Belle Arte Milano. When that gang arrived, the crowd migrated to a bar in the trendy Navigli neighborhood.

I didn’t plan to stay out late that night. But I followed the group of kids to the Navigli bar and had a few drinks. It was getting late, but there was talk of a disco excursion, so I stayed on for that. It was two Brazilian girls and I , and the taxi ride turned out to be something like €20 each way. We got there a little before one in the morning. I made sure we left at about 3:00 a.m. because I hadn’t even started packing yet.

I called for a taxi at 4:30, but when I checked to be sure I had my passport, I realized I couldn’t find it. The cabbie was downstairs waiting, and I was tearing my room apart frantically looking for it, flipping over mattresses, double-checking my backpack. By 4:45, I had to go down and pay €24 him for his time and he took off. I knew my passport had to be in my bags because it definitely wasn’t in my room. But I just couldn’t leave the hostel without it. Thirty seconds after the taxi left, I found the passport among my folders in my big bag. So I got in the next taxi and he took me to the station where I had just missed the 5:03 shuttle train that went direct to the airport for €13. The next one wasn’t for an hour and that would be cutting it pretty short. I wasn’t about to miss my first of three legs back to the US. Getting back to my family: priceless. So I sprung for another taxi ride. I practiced my Italian with the cabbie in the semi-sober ride to the airport. In Italy, you always get the wide-eyed look after a few phrases of Italian. “Why do you speak Italian?” and “Why would you want to speak Italian?”

 My two weeks in Milan flew by and I enjoyed them thoroughly. It showed me I definitely do want to come back and do my masters in northern Italy, but probably not at the Domus Accademy. Even in industrialized Milan, you can still see the “casino” of the Italian culture. In a busy intersection right in front of a train station there will be pedestrians, mopeds, motorcycles, buses, trams, cars, and trucks all negotiating the scene without a traffic light in sight. More than once, I was riding in a tram and flew through a bright red light. But to me, that’s what makes Italy fun and always exciting. 


Alison Wendler, Universsity of Washington

Happy Backpackers

I had an absolutely amazing time on my WSA trip to Krakow, Poland. I felt like a got a lot out of my money and it was so nice not to have to worry about anything because WSA takes care of it all. Our guide was absolutely fantastic and was there with us for everything we needed-it was great to have someone around with you who knew the city so well. This is definitely a trip I will never forget. I already want to start planning my next WSA trip. What amazing destination to pick next is the hard part!

Alison Wendler, Universsity of Washington ~ National University of Ireland, Galway, Spring 2016

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