• The ADA and Life Abroad: What Surprised You?

    by  • February 7, 2017 • Uncategorized, Undergraduate Programs • 0 Comments

    It’s week three already for our dancers and physical theatre students here at the ADA! We asked our ADALife bloggers to reflect this week on what they were expecting when they chose to study at the ADA, and what has surprised them most about their first taste of Tuscan life and studying art with new teachers in a totally new environment. Read on to hear from Hannah, Tommy, Victoria, Emily and Renelle!

    Hannah Antman: Physical Theatre, Boston University MA

    So far, life in Arezzo has beautiful and magical and everything I could’ve imagined- but then again, it’s NOTHING like I imagined! There have been a ton of surprises and quirks about this culture and country that have left me confused, amused, and amazed. Here are just a few:

    1. Condiments! The ketchup here is so much better than in the States (Italian tomatoes!) but the mustard is a little funky. And last week, I stumbled upon “nugget salsa” at the grocery store- I’ll keep you posted as to what that means.
    2. There is an abundance of adorable and very well-groomed dogs here. But unfortuantely, the dog’s owners don’t often like them to be approached or pet. It requires a lot of restraint.
    3. The bread here is… unexpectedly flavorless. But douse it in olive oil and you’re good to go.
    4. You have to pay for water at restaurants here, which results in a constant internal battle between hydration and frugality. But in some places, wine is cheaper than water- which clears up that dilemma real quick 😉
    5. At the villa, the sky is so big and the sunset so brilliant I still feel like I’m staring at a green screen. Food and dogs come in close behind, but this beautiful place has been the best surprise of all.


    Tommy Bowden: Physical Theatre, Hamilton College NY

    Ok so I was terrified about doing this program. I’ve had no experience with any sort of “Physical Theatre” (whatever that means) nor has anyone ever said that I move particularly well. I dance more like your dad after a couple scotches at the Christmas Party than a Broadway star and I’m about as flexible as a breadstick.

    I was expecting people here to be quite the opposite of me in terms of my ability to move, and I was completely, absolutely, 100% correct. No surprises there, but I was and am continually surprised about the level of acceptance and encouragement from both my fellow classmates and teachers. Every day here I’m pulled a lil’ more outside of my comfort zone, and every time it happens I’ve found it’s actually not that bad, maybe even great.
    It is difficult work for sure, but it’s good work. It’s work that a not-morning person is excited about at 7am.

    And now I’m a slightly more flexible breadstick.


    Victoria Awkward: Dance, Goucher College MD

    I did not expect to be completely overwhelmed with the beauty of Italy every single day. I am taken away by how fresh the air is, the gorgeous green hills and the artistic architecture. Every time I go outside I take in the sun and enchanting smells. As I absorb this new experience I notice different aspects of the Italian culture.

    It’s the Small Things:
    -I have to stare at each coin to figure out the amount the coin is
    -Training myself to automatically say Ciao instead of Hello
    -Sometimes I order food/drinks and receive something different then I expected
    -Italian paper is longer then American paper and doesn’t fit in my folder
    -The doors to bathrooms are taller then the doors in America
    -I have to use buttons to flush the toilets

    The bigger things:
    -Cars: Some roads are tiny and look like streets for pedestrians, but then a car will squeeze it’s way down the road
    -The cars seem to have the right away instead of pedestrians
    -Streets that should be considered one-way streets are often two ways streets
    -The multitude of tiny cars
    -Arezzo feels like a small community of people where Monica knows everyone
    -There are a lot of American tourists/students in Florence and most of the employees in the stores/restaurants speak English
    -Learning to hand wash and dry my clothes
    -Eating pasta as much as I can
    -Getting used to walking everywhere, especially on the hills of Arezzo
    -Seeing all the old architecture
    -The villa is older than America (America as we know it)


    Emily Berridge: Dance, Muhlenberg College PA

    I was most surprised by how easy it is to walk everywhere around town. I wasn’t expecting to be able to adjust to that so quickly. Public transportation is something else that I was expecting to have a harder time with, but it’s actually pretty easy. The schedule is even more intense than I was prepared for, but the classes are great so it’s worth it.


    Renelle Wilson: Physical Theatre, Boston University MA

    I heard something from Dory on the very first day of classes, and with it in mind I’ve been surprised by different experiences every day. She said “This is the only time in your life when all you have to focus on is your art. I advise you to take full advantage of it.” We are all students. We are all coming from hectic lives in another country. Hectic social lives, hectic situations of working day after day to be better and to grow and to survive and to transition into adulthood. But the quiet outdoors here have reminded me that I can just breathe. The rolling hills bring me into perspective of how big the world actually is and how I don’t always have to stay stuck in mine. Today I looked out of the window during voice class, saw the dark blue rolling clouds balancing on top of the humongous rolling hills with steamy strips of red sunlight poking through and thought, “Wow. I am studying my craft, in Arezzo, Italy. That is what’s happening right now. And that is all there has to be right now.” You’re here right now. So be present. Do your laundry by hand at least once, decorate your room, let the walk up that hill really feel like you’re returning to home, eat all the pizza, go to all the open mics, and be open to the good that is happening around you.



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