A Typical Day Attending the Oldest University in Europe

By Sarah Perrin

  • photo of piazza maggiore in bologna
Piazza Maggiore, Bologna, Italy

Pictured here is the beautiful Piazza Maggiore, which I was lucky enough to walk through each day on my way to class. After passing through the Piazza, we would make our way through narrow streets lined with vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables and people gracefully tipping down their first espresso of the day. And right before entering classes, we made a pit stop in an inconspicuous little cafe, grabbing a chocolate croissant and a cappuccino to go. 

And our classes themselves? They were held in an architecturally and historically rich building that was once part of a monastery, then a penitentiary, until it was finally adopted into the fold of the oldest university in Europe, the University of Bologna.

Because Bologna is such an authentic Italian city, one where many of the people you encounter do not speak English, my understanding of Italian culture and proficiency in the language progressed to a whole new level in just six short weeks. 

Upon returning to Duke, I will apply what I have learned in Bologna in Italian 301. Because of Duke in Bologna, taking Italian became more than just a language requirement or a fun opportunity; it strengthened my knowledge of a place and a people which I have now become passionate about, and I look forward to continuing my learning in the fall semester.

Sarah Perrin
Duke in Bologna
Summer 2016

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