Friday, July 10, 2015

Days 8, 9, and 10

This week has been very eventful, filled with coursework, cooking classes, college prep, and travel.
During the cooking class, students prepared several traditional courses: antipasto, primo piano, secondo piano, dolci. What a wonderful treat! Many who did not take the class on Tuesday will be doing so tonight. Hopefully they will return with much knowledge of how to prepare similar foods for you....

I can hardly believe that tomorrow is our last official day in Siena. We will enjoy a pizza party cooking class and then some of the group will stay in Siena for the 2 week immersion extension, while others travel back to Rome Saturday morning.

Please enjoy the beautiful panoramic views below!


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Days 5, 6, and 7


On Friday we traveled to San Gimignano, and yesterday we journeyed to Firenze! In San Gimignano--a tiny enclosed medieval town overlooking miles and miles of expansive farmland--the students enjoyed a tour of the quaint city. In Florence, we toured Academia, one of the oldest and most famous museums in the Western world. We also journeyed through Duomo, Punto Vecchio, as well as Piazza Santa Signoria. 

Monday we will travel to Terme Antica Querciolaia, a thermal bath/hot spring/pool in the Tuscan countryside about 30 minutes from Siena. 

Fun fact: There is great similarity between the myth regarding the founding of Rome and that of Siena. Both stories offer an account of twins who are of divine nature. There are various sources that recount a conflict between the two, their subsequent rivalry, duel, and finally the death of the challenger. According to legend, Romulus prevailed over Remus, giving him the naming rights to Rome. Likewise Senius bested Achius, awarding him the naming rights to Siena.

Fino a domani!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Days 2, 3 and 4

Buonasera (good evening)! 
Student classes and the Palio festivities are underway! The excitement is palpable everywhere in the city as the contrada prepare for the Palio-- the famous horserace that will occur today at 730 pm! We will also go to the blessing of a horse and then will meet to watch Palio together. 

The streets are lined with people waiting for their respective contrada (city section) to parade. 
Palio is more than just a race, as each contrada represents a community that extends far past the immediate family. During the year, each contrada attends mass and holds weekly meals together. Winning the Palio race represents a rebirth for the winning contrada, and for those who lose, it can feel like a death. Before the race, each rider and horse are blessed in the church of their respective contrada. The students have been amazed at the feeling of community shared by the Sienese. Tomorrow we continue classes and then travel to San Gimignano :) 

Monday, June 29, 2015


Hello everyone from Siena!

After two lively (and long) days in Rome, we arrived in Siena last night. Palio festival is in full effect and the streets are filled to the brim! :) Our whirlwind tour of Roma included visiting Vatican city--where we had the amazing opportunity to hear the Pope speak-- Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and more. We had several delicious meals in Rome, though I am sure they will not compare to the lovely meals the students will enjoy at their respective home stays.

     The students started class this morning after a placement exam. After lunch we will take a tour of the city as a group, as well as enjoy gelato from one of the best places in Siena!

Many of the families become extremely involved in the Palio celebration, spending both morning and night in the piazzo del campo (the main city center) for the customary tour of the horses.

A domani (tomorrow)!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Hello from the SPI Study Abroad Team! We’re just a few weeks away from the start of summer 2015 in Biarritz -- we hope you're getting excited for the unforgettable adventures and priceless memories that a summer in France always undoubtedly brings :) 

Here are some ways you can begin preparing for your experience:

1) Look over the Student & Parent Orientation Guide. This booklet will help prepare you for everything you need to know -- whether you're curious about cell phone usage while abroad, how to pack for the weather in Biarritz, or just want to get a better idea of what your homestay experience will be like, the Orientation Guide is chock-full of super useful info!

2) Join your Facebook program group! Note that SPI sends out a list of all the students on your program about 7-10 days before departure, but Facebook is always a great way to start getting connected even before then :)

3) Read through the pre-departure emails coming your way between now and then -- we always send out at least 5 of these before the summer!

4) Connect with SPI on social media! We're @spistudyabroad on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook, and we even have Pinterest andTumblr, too. We're constantly posting pics, inspiring quotes, packing tips, international recipes, and other fun stuff -- don't miss our posts!

We can't wait to meet you this summer!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Days 8+9+10

Ciao da Siena!

This week has been very eventful, filled with coursework and travel.  

Yesterday we travelled an hour to a lovely, quaint, and hidden gem of a city, San Gimignano. The views were spectacular, and the city boasts the best gelato in the world! I think every student would concur with that statement- it certainly was the best gelato I have every tasted. After walking through the town, students had the opportunity to shop at many of the local stores to buy gifts for family and friends, as well as to sample some of the other cuisine. Some students even opted for another round of gelato before we left! :)

After returning to Siena, we decided on a group outing to a restaurant near the city center. A good time was had by all and we can hardly believe our time here is coming to an end shortly. Tomorrow some students will be taking a cooking course in which they will learn to prepare the traditional courses: antipasto, primo piano, secondo piano, dolci. What a wonderful treat! Hopefully they will return with much knowledge of how to prepare similar foods for you....

Please enjoy the beautiful panoramic views below!

A domani!