Every day in Sicily has brought a new adventure, loads of fun, and moments that will surely turn into precious memories. A day in the life blog post was bound to happen, right? I wanted to pick a “regular” day here, but if I’m being honest, there really is no such thing! Some days we spend more time in the classroom, other days we are exploring new cities, and sometimes we are bouncing around from one excursion to another.
Here’s a sneak peak of a typical classroom day:
July 1, 2019 – A typical classroom day with a mid-day break.
6:30 am: I started off the morning early by going on a run with our Sicily running group (a group made up of four of us who all love to run). We love to run around Ortigia before starting our days, so we usually get up early a couple times a week to do so before the streets are crowded.
7:15 am: We made it home from our run, showered, and got ready for the day. I made one of my typical breakfasts to give myself some brain power: oatmeal with peanut butter and a sprinkle of chocolate because YUM! You would be surprised by how difficult it is to find peanut butter in this country. I am using my small stash as wisely as I can. Also, the only chocolate chips I have found since I’ve been here are all tiny!
After eating breakfast on our lovely balcony, I ran through the presentation I was giving in class that day one last time. When I felt that I was good to go, I set off to school with one of my roommates so that I could set up my presentation. The school is only about a 3 minute walk from our apartments, which is very convenient for us.
9:45 am: I gave my presentation over Italian Foods: Pasta, Pizza, and Beads: Types, Nutrition, and Preparation. I think it went pretty well, and I was honestly so relieved to be done once it was over. This project is a large portion of the grade for one of my classes I am taking abroad, so it was vital to do well! I loved my topic and felt like I learned a lot while also drawing from my knowledge from the food science class I have taken at UT.
10:30 am – After my presentation was over, we transitioned to sharing our abstracts (everyone in the class stands up and discusses something we learned in detail) from two activities. Today, the abstracts were over our visit to a local primary school where we toured the facility and ate a typical lunch (the best school lunch I’ve ever seen) and our outing to the diabetes department at a hospital in town.
11:30 am: Shortly after our discussion, we had a lecture by Dr. Mariano Caldarella, a physician who runs a sports clinic in town. Our translator, Angela, helped him communicate how health care works for athletes here. Just like I have seen several previous times, the differences between healthcare in the United States and Italy was quite surprising to me! We were in class the whole time but later in the week we would be visiting Dr. Caldarella and seeing first hand what sports physicals consist of here in Italy.
12:30 pm: Time for a break! My roommates and I went to a quaint little restaurant we’ve been eyeing for weeks to celebrate the success of my presentation. I ate ravioli and tomato sauce (an ideal combo) and relished in my surroundings.
After lunch, we went shopping in the stores around Ortigia. All the stores have a huge sale starting on July 1st every year, and my classmates and I definitely participated in it. I made a couple purchases but before long, we headed home and worked on abstracts and projects. I uploaded some pictures from our weekend in Taormina and rested a little before going swimming in the sea. Our apartment is on the coast line and is just a brief walk to some great swimming spots. On the hot days (which is pretty much every day) my classmates and I like to go swimming to cool off.
6:00 pm – At 6pm, we were back at the school to listen to Dr. Divide Tanasi give a lecture on food and illness in ancient Sicily. Every one of my classmates and I were captivated by this presentation. I learned about the combination of several of my favorite subjects: nutrition, history, and biomolecular sciences. Dr. Tanasi shared lots of information from his own research about finding ancient olive oil and wine and discovering the origins of the Mediterranean diet. This lecture was definitely a highlight for my class!
7:00 pm – After this lecture, our class took a short walk to a traditional sandwich stall and had a great dinner. I decided to just get a vegetable sandwich, but most of my classmates tried some more of their unique sandwiches. I loved mine though, and it kind of reminded me of a muffaletta sandwich! We topped dinner off with some gelato and headed home for the night.
As you can see, it was a very nutritious day (haha, not)! I have absolutely loved trying all the food here and I am doing my best to enjoy it and not focus on making sure I get five servings of vegetables a day… because that has not been happening. And that’s how it’s done on a nutrition study abroad program!
July 5, 2019 – Day trip to Agrigento and to the beach
6:00 am: The day started off really early as we had to make it to our bus by 7am. We woke up at 6 and (in my case) scrambled to get things ready for the day. We walked through the empty streets of Ortigia carrying our backpacks and pillows until we got to our bus that would take us to Agrigento.
10:15 am: We made it to Agrigento and to the UNESCO World Heritage Site “The Valley of the Temples.” Upon arriving, we were informed that Dolce & Gabbana were going to have a fashion show among the temples later that day. It was a slight distraction from the historic wonders, but I found it to be rather cool that we were getting to see it happen.
We got to see the temples of Hera, Concordia, Hercules, and Zeus while we were there. Interestingly, historians and archaeologists had to make their best guesses on who the temples were dedicated to because there were no found inscriptions. We got to hear about what they originally looked like and some of the mythology behind them, and I found that my once obsession with Percy Jackson and the Olympians series came in handy.
11:45 am: After seeing some of these really incredible temples, we headed to a stunning beach in Agrigento. We didn’t have a lot of time to swim, so I made the most of it by literally running into the crystal clear water. We’ve been to several beaches on this program (all being the most beautiful blue color), but this one was a sand beach.
We swam around in the water for a while and encountered a few jellyfish. I think I can speak for the group and say that we have all been really surprised with the amount of jellyfish that we have run into. Unfortunately, one of our own was stung by one on this day, but he is all good now!
1:45 pm: We met up at a restaurant to eat a light lunch before hitting the road again. I had some Pizza Al Taglio and tried one of my friend’s arancini (stuffed rice balls).
2:00 pm: Time to get back on the bus. This time, I slept a good portion of the 3.5 hour ride and we made it back to Siracusa by 5pm.
6:00 pm: After getting home and freshening up, most of my classmates went to a fourth of July leftover potluck. Here is a picture of the food from the day before, taken by one of my fellow classmates, Aislinn O’Kelly. (We had a really great time!) I took the night easy and went to bed early because it had been an early morning and I was quite tired.
There you have it! Two very different days from my study abroad experience. Not a single day is like any other but we love them just the same! Ciao amici!
This post was contributed by Ellen Jordan, a 2019 Global Ambassador majoring in nutritional science. Ellen is studying abroad on the Nutrition in Italy faculty-led program in Sicily.
Don’t get left behind. Read more about Ellen’s experience abroad>>