Marin Olson, a junior marketing major from Julesburg, Colorado, is studying abroad June 11-July 7 in Italy as part of the College of Business Global Immersion program Italy: Analyzing Supply Chain Management Around the Amalfi Coast. She and her classmates will learn about the supply chain management systems in both Italian and multinational companies, tour Italian businesses such as an olive oil factory, go on excursions to places like Pompeii and more during the four-week trip. She looks forward to experiencing a different culture, taking herself out of her comfort zone and seeing the world outside of Colorado and Nebraska. After the program, she plans to meet her brother and cousin in Florence and from there, explore more northern parts of Italy and possibly make a trip to Croatia.
7/5/2017 – Fourth of July in Italy
Our Fourth of July was spent differently than what the typical Independence Day looks like in America.
We set this day aside for our Civic Engagement Day to give back to the Sorrentine society after so many days of taking advantage of the experiences the town has given us.
We were on a bus by 6:45 a.m. and on our way to Positano for beach cleaning. To our surprise, we were dropped off on the side of the road where we then had to hike down steep rocks to the three beaches we were to clean. The first beach was occupied by a fisherman's family who lived very differently than I do in the U.S. Their house was full of garbage, and they didn't seem to mind. The young boy who lived there ran out to offer us coffee while we were working. We hiked around a rocky point to get to a big secluded beach. After picking up close to 20 large garbage bags of trash by 9:30 a.m., we hopped on a boat and rode the rest of the way to Positano on the water.
The guys went with a marine biologist who led our beach cleanup to snorkel in a cave. The girls took advantage of our free day by renting four spots on the beach and laid out after getting an early lunch. After a few hours, we headed out for gelato and then took a bus home.
We studied hard for a few hours for our Italian test that we took this morning, and all passed (woohoo!). Then we celebrated America's birthday the only way we know how to from 5,000 miles away – we chowed down on the best burgers in Italy.
There weren't any fireworks to help us celebrate, but we are thankful we got to spend the day contributing to the Sorrentine society. We know we are fortunate to come from our homes in America.
7/3/2017 – A Weekend in Rome
A weekend in Rome was just what we needed after three weeks in Sorrento. We were lucky enough to get class canceled for us on Friday, which allowed us to leave Thursday night for Rome via the train for a long weekend.
Fireworks for an Italian national holiday welcomed us, but we all wanted to believe it was just an early Fourth of July celebration for the tourists. I think fireworks here are even more popular than back home. We get a show almost every other night from our terrace.
The restaurant served us their special Roma pasta – caccio pepe
(spaghetti with cheese and black pepper sauce) – that we'll be trying to perfect for months after we get home. We strolled through the city streets, admiring all of the major attractions at night. The Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon are all breathtaking after dark. Of course, it wouldn't be right to end our first evening in Rome without gelato.
The atmosphere and hustle of Rome were a nice change of scenery from the resort town of Sorrento. The humidity of Rome in the evening and the fact we were off the coast for the first time in three weeks made it feel a little like home. We even got to step onto American soil during our tour at the U.S. Embassy, which we got to do thanks to Ellie's father.
After our Embassy tour, we made our way to the Colosseum. As an obvious must-see and with no reservations, the lines were long, but thanks to a severely sprained ankle suffered by Nathan Hill (one of our fellow students) we were able to skip the line and cut the wait time to less than five minutes. It's so hard to try and describe the beauty of all these architectural and historical buildings and sculptures, as even pictures can't do them justice. After a long day, we lived every college student’s dream: we bought four euros worth of some of the best pasta Rome had to offer and enjoyed it by the Spanish steps.
We explored Vatican City, which is a whole different country than Italy that is located in Rome, the next day. Nathan's ankle couldn't get us through the line this time, but the Vatican was well worth the wait. We saw one of Michaelangelo's sculptures which he made when he was 24-years-old and portrays a powerful image of Mary holding her crucified son. This was the only piece of art that he signed himself. The main floor alone took us almost two hours to get through, but a few of us decided to climb to the top of the cathedral and get a better look at the city. It was a total of 519 stairs and more than 30 stories through narrow spaces that at times required a rope in the middle of the spiral staircase because there was no room for an actual railing. Many people were turning around because the elevation and tight spaces were too overwhelming. After many moments of debating whether or not to join them in turning around, we made it to the top and were even more overwhelmed with the beauty and aesthetic of the city beneath us.
The pure exhaustion and not eating for six hours led us to the nearest McDonald's - another great decision despite my hesitation to eat McDonald's in Italy.
We returned to Sorrento after visiting almost everything there is to see in Rome. Ahead of us is a week of finals and, unfortunately, some temporary goodbyes.
6/23/2017 – Capri and Pompeii
The adventures have continued through our second week in Sorrento, Italy. We had a once-in-a-lifetime weekend that consisted of traveling to the island of Capri, and then on to exploring the ruins of Pompeii and climbing the volcano that caused the destruction to the city.
Capri (which actually translates to “goat” and was named accordingly because herds of goats populated the island when it was found) is an expensive destination and home to several celebrities. We were taken there by boat and then bussed around the island where we would stop and explore the cities for a few hours. In Anacapri, we took a ski lift up to the highest point of the island where we could’ve seen a panoramic view of the whole island if the whole north side wasn’t covered by a cloud. We spent a few hours in Anacapri walking through high-end shops, which turned out to be cheap compared to what we would see the next hour walking through Capri. In Capri, we were able to walk through the beautiful Gardini di Augusto that overlooks the coast full of yachts. We spent the last hour in town searching for a store where we fit in (meaning it was not Gucci, Chanel, Moschino, etc.) to get out of the sun and into an air conditioned building.
The next day, despite our exhaustion from Capri, we trekked to the train station and boarded a train to Pompeii. We were prepared for an emotional experience but were mostly amazed by the history. For example, the Romans had built an entire city over the top of Pompeii, not knowing that under the hundreds of feet of ashes was the city that was destroyed by the volcano in 79 A.D. An unbelievable amount of the city has been salvaged and preserved by archeologists. My favorite part of the town was the town square, where in the distance you can see Mt. Vesuvius framed perfectly. It really hit me how powerful that image is now.
From Pompeii, we took a packed bus to the base of Mt. Vesuvius where we switched to a more efficient van to go up the mountain. The van took us to a point where we then got out and hiked the remaining mile to the peak. We were lucky in that it had rained the day before and was rather windy so there wasn’t any haze in the sky, allowing us to see clearly for miles.
Our adventure to Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius has been our class's favorite experience so far. This weekend we are setting out to a vineyard and then to the Amalfi Coast on Sunday. Our trip is half over, and none of us are ready to accept that just yet.
6/15/2017 – Can We Stay Here Forever?
After four days of wandering Sorrento and learning Italian and four nights sitting on the balcony of my dorm with new friends I’ve spent every waking moment with, any hesitation or second thought I ever had about studying abroad is gone. On our way back from the beach after sunset, we all agreed we would live here permanently if we could.
On Sunday we were greeted with a full Italian meal, which includes four courses – and had a separate fork for each course – appetizers and salad, pasta course, meat course and dessert. Dinner in the Italy starts at around 6:30 p.m. and doesn’t end until 11 p.m. at the earliest.
Each day begins at 9 a.m. with an Italian language class and is immediately followed with a Skype call to Lincoln at 11 a.m. in Sorrento, but 4 a.m. in Nebraska for our supply chain management class (huge shout out to Mr. Clyde Davis for being so dedicated to our education)! Once class gets out at 1 p.m. we set out on our next adventure for the trip.
So far we have walked more than 25 miles around Sorrento, visited a lemon orchard, an olive grove and olive oil factory, and a museum full of belongings of a Noble Family of Sorrento. We took a gelato class and got three free cones, accidentally ordered seven whole pizzas when we thought we were all just getting one slice, and have seen four of the most unforgettable sunsets that pictures can't quite capture.
I’ve already learned so much in just one week, but more than anything, I know this scene isn’t going to get old anytime soon!
6/9/17 – My First Real Adventure
The girl who absolutely refused to take a weekend trip to Washington, D.C., with her grandparents in high school because of her fear of missing out on events with her friends at home is now packing for a month-long trip to a different country.
That girl is me. So I got to thinking – what happened between now and then that gave me the desire to travel?
I’ve traveled before with my family to destinations like Cancun and Punta Mita in Mexico, Hawaii and Turks and Caicos. The common trend is they were all just tropical vacations. I say “just” because although they are beautiful destinations, I found myself sitting at the beach for a week instead of exploring.
So now, when I think travel, I think adventure.
(noun): an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience of activity
Studying abroad for a month with a group of people I barely know is both an unusual and exciting opportunity. Although I haven’t thought of it as hazardous before, I guess it would qualify as a bit of a risk.
Before college, I missed out on traveling opportunities because of my fear of missing out at home. As I’ve matured, I’ve realized I’m only missing out by staying at home and not taking every chance I get to travel the world.
In fact, Oxford Dictionaries uses the sentence “her recent adventures in Italy” to exemplify the noun adventure. What better place to go than to Italy to start my first “real” adventure abroad?