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A Day In The Life Of An NC State Student In Perugia, Italy

I start my day bright and early at 7:00 AM and get ready for a beautiful day in Perugia, “The Green Heart of Italy”. As I take a bite out of the fresh peach I bought from the market the day before, I look out the window of my small apartment to see a breathtaking view of Perugia’s beautiful, rolling colline (hills) and thick forests.


After a quick breakfast, I pack up my zaino (backpack) and head to class. Most Italian students take the train to get to campus, however my apartment is a two minute walk from l’Università per Stranieri di Perugia (the University for Foreigners in Perugia). The main building of the university is Palazzo Galenga; All of my classes are held in this building (from Monday to Friday for 4-7 hours depending on the day).

Palazzo Galenga
Palazzo Galenga

Inside this magnificent building, which as the name suggests was once a palace owned by the Galenga family, you can still see elements of its rich past; from beautifully painted ceilings, to baroque architecture, the university building is like a work of art.

galenga hall

galenga ceiling

While many students from Italy take classes at L’Università per Stranieri di Perugia, the school is renowned for its Italian language classes for foreign students. In my language class, which is taught completely in Italian, there are students from Hungary, Spain, Korea, Germany, Japan, Australia, Poland, United States, Belgium, Greece, Switzerland, and Peru. For most of us, the only language we have in common is Italian, which encourages us to speak Italian, rather than our native languages in order to communicate with each other.

University per Stranieri Livello B2 Grouppo (Level B2 Group)
University per Stranieri Classe di Livello B2 (Level B2 Class)

After my classes are over for the day, I walk ten minutes up a hill to buy groceries from a small shop called Co-op; my grocery list generally includes Mortadella, Prosciutto, Salami, Ciabatta bread, and Mozzarella. On my way back to the apartment I walk under a gorgeous Etruscan arch, also known as Arco di Augusto, which was constructed in 27 B.C.

Etruscan Arch (Arco di Augusto)
Etruscan Arch (Arco di Augusto)

Before reaching my apartment, I make one last stop to get a gelato (I think almost everyone knows that the English translation of gelato is ice cream!) from one of Perugia’s most famous gelaterias, Cioccolatto Augusto Perusia. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the best ice cream I have tasted in my entire life (and I’ve had a few in my lifetime).

Cioccolatto Augusta Perusia Gelatteria
Gelatteria Cioccolatto Augusta Perusia

Later at the apartment I do some studying, finish up homework, and get ready to go out to the piazza (square) with friends. In Italy, each town has a piazza where friends and family, both old and young, gather to relax and socialize in the evenings; surrounding the piazzas are restaurants, small negozi (shops), and bars which create a buzzing, upbeat atmosphere. After grabbing a margarita pizza and walking around the piazza with friends for a few hours, I head back to the apartment and get ready for bed. As I brush my teeth, I take one more look out my window to see the rolling hills of Perugia- now lit up with thousands of glistening lights- and think about how incredibly lucky I am to be able expand my knowledge and grow in this beautiful country.


The CNR Enrichment fund has given me the opportunity to participate in this study abroad program and fully immerse myself in the language and culture of Italy- something I could never experience sitting in a classroom in America, or even just going to Italy for vacation. I get to experience Italian culture, participate in Italian traditions, taste Italian cuisine, speak Italian with locals, and live the Italian way of life as a student rather than a tourist. Italy is not just the place where I’ll be staying for the next month while I take language courses in the beautiful classrooms of Palazzo Galenga. Italy is my classroom.

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