This past week was spring break for all of our students. All together they traveled to more than ten countries! Below Jessica, Rosalind, Flora, and Sarah share some stories from their adventures!
Jessica Hayward, Muhlenberg College
Spring break came as a wonderful relief after so many weeks of busy classes, but I’m now glad to be back at the villa and ready to start classes again. (We are doing our butoh intensive this week!) I spent most of spring break in Amsterdam with Nadia, though we met up wth several other ADA students while we were there. We spent a lot of time just exploring and trying to take in as much art, history, culture, and spicy food as we could. The Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House were some of our personal highlights, but we also went to tulip and cheese shops, and outdoor markets and parks.
Due to some cancelled flights, I didn’t make it to my second destination of Barcelona, but Nadia and I used our unexpected extra day to explore other parts of the city, even wandering into a beautiful church almost by accident. After flying back, we had a bit more time to unwind. After all the exploring of a new city, I was happy to be back in Arezzo and was excited to wander around the city some more. Spring break was a great chance to expand to a new place and way of living (they love biking in Amsterdam!), but made me excited to continue to fully experience where I am for the next month and a half!
Rosalind Bevan, Boston University
Travelling to Barcelona, Spain for spring break was an absolute dream. My skin drank up the much-needed warm sun, and the familiar shimmering blue ocean reminded meof my far-away home in California. The sun-kissed pink and yellow buildings welcomed us as we wandered the streets. On the first day as we strolled in our day dream, we decided to follow the exciting sounds of drums. We found ourselves in a square that was clearly having an elaborate celebration! There was music, fireworks, and circus performers! We joked with the people on stilts, swayed to the music, and took our fair share of selfies. We began to dance and laugh, enjoying the festivities with the locals, but what were we celebrating? One of the street performers explained to us that the festival was celebrating the removal of a statue of Antonio López, Marquis de Comillas, an 1800’s slave trader. Later that night, we turned on the TV in our AirBnB and the event that we stumbled upon was all over the news! In the moment, I didn’t even realize how historic of a day this was for Barcelona. When I returned to our villa-away-from-home in Arezzo, I decided to look further into thehistory behind that day. In my Google searches, I found that López’s wealth was gained mostly from slave trade in Cuba and with this wealth, he created the Transatlantic Company, Philippine Tobacco Company, and Hispanic Colonial Bank. He was a highly respected businessman, and the statue was originally erected in 1884, one year after his death, to honor him. Many citizens have been protesting for years to take down the statue because of how it celebrates a slave trader. The Barcelona City Council responded and finally took down the statue. The square in his name will also be renamed. While in Barcelona, I also learned that this is not the only monument that has come under question by Barcelona’s citizens. There is also a demand to have the Christopher Columbus monument taken down or altered for the way it celebrates imperialism and glorifies colonialism. The monument itself also has some disturbing imagery in the way that it depicts Native Americans. It was very eye-opening to be exposed to a little part of how the people of Catalonia today are grappling with Spain’s dark history and how to memorialize this history. We have faced similar issues in America, and it was interesting to make those connections. I was really grateful to be exposed to a small portion of the social climate in Barcelona, truly learning and growing from the exposure. I realized that this is what studying abroad truly means: to be curious and learn about other cultures and their present relationship with their past, not just to be an ignorant tourist taking pictures of things I don’t even know anything about. I hope to keep this curiosity open in the places I visit next!
Flora Mangio, Cornish College of the Arts
The main highlights of my trip to London were visiting the Westminster church and watching the musical,Les Miserables. The Westminster church is known for over 600 historic people’s burials including Princess Diana. I was so stoked to see king Henry the IV’s and Shakespeare’s grave. Their graves included their own statue on top of their casket. The architecture of the church was all made out of delicate glass and stone. Unlike the duomo of Florence , the geometric designs and neutral colors complimented the church’s aesthetic. Les Miserables was a must on my “place to visit” list. The cast was all British native born and well trained under the royal ballet company. I fell in love with the actors’ voices and the individuality from their characters. I was lucky enough to sit four rows from the stage and it felt like I was involved.
Sarah Shin, Boston University
This past week for Spring Break I was able to travel to Venice, Barcelona, and Berlin, and it was crazy to say the least! My travels were packed and varied, which was fun but also challenged my strength and energy level. It was nice to meet up with friends from my home school in Venice and Berlin, and then to travel with the new friends I have made at ADA in Barcelona!
A few highlights:
-Riding a gondola in Venice
-Walking into the many mask shops in Venice, and spotting some commedia dell’arte masks!
-Going to the beach and salsa dancing in Barcelona
-Visiting the Pablo Picasso Museum, Park Guell, and having lunch in the sun with some delicious sangria!
-Seeing my friend Sarah perform in an interactive theatre piece at Bard College Berlin
-Walking around Alexanderplatz to see stores, and drink bubble tea (I had a craving!!)
My phone storage is full from the abundance of photos, and my wallet is light from spending money on amazing food and sights….I am still taking the time to process that I truly went on a wild adventure, and taking the time to rest that is desperately needed- it was all definitely, 100% worth it!!