As this blog continues to get away from me (damn you other responsibilities, damn you!), I want to be sure to add at least one more entry. While we love our location at Castel Gandolfo, one thing that the young folks miss out on a bit is the international student life that Europeans in particular seem to treasure. The trains back from Roma do not run late enough, so our folks spend their evenings here. There are obvious advantages to this, although I am very confident that this crew is more than mature enough to handle any complications (such as this):
I did not take this photo. It probably happened about four hours after I was asleep. Jes’ sayin’.
At the same time, this sort of activity serves as a networking and learning opportunity, one that I’m convinced can help our students think about cities like Roma and Firenze as complex entities that combine a reverence for history and tradition with a currency that shows these cities as the vibrant, cosmopolitan places that they are.
Our folks got this experience, or at least a taste, in Firenze. Several members of the group had American friends who are studying in Firenze, and they all met up with their friends and got to spend some time. A couple even got to do a little clubbing, a ridiculously archaic term that the cool kids still seem to use, I guess.
I’m glad. In my mind establishing competency and confidence in another culture involves understanding what lived experience is actually like as well as comprehending the history and art that mark these cities as tourist and travel destinations. If our folks are to develop their abilities to compete in the global marketplace of the 21st century, they can benefit immensely from opportunities like these.