I love to read. When each new semester begins I find it rather difficult to read whenever and whatever I want. Packing for my semester in Orvieto, Italy I left my books. I had to. When was I ever going to have the time? I brought just one for the plane as alternative entertainment to movies but that was it. Little did I know I was going to regret that decision.
Gordon IN Orvieto is a very unique program and one of the reasons is the more relaxed schedule offered in Italy. I would have class four times a week for three hours in the morning. I registered for four courses like I would any other semester, however, here I would be taking one course per month. It seemed then that my time would be spent either in class or doing the loads of homework that was surely to come with such a schedule. I didn’t need any books. I would be way too busy. Well, that wasn’t the case. During my time in Orvieto, I read over ten books.
Maybe that’s not a lot to some. Maybe you can read twenty books or thirty within the span of four months. But for me, it was a surprising amount. I never could do that before! My new schedule actually allowed for a lot of things to happen: travel, painting, reading, and exploration. Even though I would find myself doing a week’s worth of art homework in one afternoon (I was able to fully devote my time and energy to create the best work I could), I could read the books I wanted to and for long periods of time without worrying about what was needed for other classes. Nothing was more satisfying than finding a quiet corner during reposo (the Italian siesta) and read. Thank goodness for the library we had in our residential convent since I so foolishly left all my books in the states! It was exciting to accomplish things I wouldn’t normally be able to with my American college schedule. I wasn’t being lazy in Italy, quite the opposite. As I said before, to have the course schedule the way it was provided more opportunities to do the work assigned and do it to the best of my ability.
Now, I’m back to taking four courses at once with responsibilities piling sky high and the books I brought from home are sitting on a shelf in my dorm collecting dust. This doesn’t sound like a very happy ending does it? But after readjusting to my life back at Gordon, reading for fun is still doable. I can still complete my work to the best of my ability. Orvieto taught me that time is honestly what you make of it and although my schedule has drastically changed, the same principle applies. This past weekend I sat in a corner with a mug of tea and read my books and Orvieto didn’t seem too far away.
Alex R. is a senior English Major and Art Minor at Gordon College who recently studied abroad at the Gordon IN Orvieto Program. As one of our interns, most days you can find her hard at work in the Global Education Office. #gordonglobal