Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Here's what amazed SAIS Europe students during the break

We asked SAIS Europe students to sum up in one sentence what their favorite moments were during last week's semester break. Here is what they sent us.

Milanese aperitivo, Swedish meatballs in snow-covered Stockholm and tapas-hopping in southern Spain.

Listening to the heart-wrenching stories of the women in Srebrenica changed my perspective on the ability of people to overcome tragedy.

I stayed with an Italian family in Ferrara and was spoiled by their hugs, smiles, Italian-humor jokes and amazing home-cooked meals.

What was most amazing about my break was visiting and reconnecting with old friends from around the world, made possible only by being in Italy.

We got engaged.

Embracing and connecting with new friends in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

I was at a happy hour in London with an English friend and while I was away from the table someone approached her in need of an Italian speaker, at which point my friend told the gentleman that she knew just the guy, which was of course not entirely true since I have just completed Novice High and speak like a First Grade bambino, but the man, who works for an English football club, approached me with a phone in hand and with the number already dialing asked me to speak with an Italian agent to secure a mandate for a transfer involving an Italian player, and with no time to prepare or to explain my subpar Italian skills, I fumbled over my words since I know nothing about English football and do not know many of the words in Italian, although the Italian agent understood "mandata" and "trasferta", and the agent was having none of it, yet the guy who works for the football club was so stunned by my delivery and confidence that he paid for our drinks, gave me his contact information and insisted we stay in contact in case he needs future help in Italy.

Enjoying Antoine's authentic Belgian chips over a good beer was the high point of my semester break.

Breathing in the sweet Sicilian sunset.

When the sun came out to illuminate the Eiffel Tower and the Jardins du Trocadéro during an otherwise gloomy day amidst a gloomy week.

Meeting with the wives, mothers and family members of Srebrenica genocide victims.

Walked for an hour in desolate farmland to reach the "best beer in the world," got lost and almost walked to France.

Sitting with 30 other SAIS and Unibo students on the floor of a living room in Potočari, Bosnia, listening to a courageous group of returnee mothers of Srebrenica.

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