2012-12-22_16-20-29_633Well my year in Milan officially ended with my graduation on December 20, 2012. I received my degree in Materials Engineering and Nanotechnology from Politecnico di Milano(shown above) and will eventually get a second master’s degree from Drexel University in Electrical Engineering. It has been a crazy year of ups and downs, but as it draws to a close I can’t help feeling a little sentimental. Perhaps it was the little Italian brat kicking the back of my seat the entire airplane ride from Milan to New York, but I thinks I’ve had enough of the Italians for now. Just kidding,  I loved living in Italy for 9 months and even though Milan was not my favorite it felt a bit like I was leaving home when I was riding to the airport on Friday morning.

People asked me what I missed about Milan when I went home for a few months before my return to present my thesis and I guess I hadn’t been away for long enough to truly miss it but now that I will not be returning for a long time(if I ever do return) there are some things I find myself pining for. First of all, I am going to miss all my amazing friends(In no particular order): Monica, Arturo, Carlos, Liliana Z., Liliana C., Lesya, Sara, Baran, and Berk and of course all the others in my classes that I studied with. And of course, the food. Where else can you find amazing gelato at any ice cream shop and even in grocery stores? And 3 euros for pizza? Awesome:)

I am also going to miss being able to hop from country to country on cheap airlines like easyjet and ryanair and plan vacations to places like Paris or London or Rome for under $300. When you live in Europe it is so easy to get around and I think many Europeans take that for granted. Here in the US, a flight from Boston to New York(which is literally like 45mins) is at least $150, but you can get a flight from Germany to Turkey for that much. I was so fortunate to be able to get to so many places while I was studying abroad.

I started traveling with ESN and went to Tuscany where I got to see Florence, Sienna, Lecco, and Pisa. I got to spend my 22nd birthday in Florence, which was beautifully decorated for Christmas. It was perfect!(Well except for the bus incident) Then, my sister and I explored the beauty and history of Italy during our two week tour where we went to Naples, Rome, Florence, Verona, and Venice. Then for New Years Paul and I met in London and spent the festivities exploring London, Liverpool and Glascow. I went biking in Belgium for Easter, and later Brian and I took an impromptu vacation to Paris. After moving to Madrid in the summer I took a a two week friend tour where I moved from Germany to Turkey to London, visiting a bunch of friends on the way and meeting some new ones. One of the best parts of this year was meeting all the awesome people from my travelling around and staying in hostels. Hopefully we will all keep in touch:)

This year has been full of magical adventures but also a lot of hard work and struggles. I had some serious homesickness there for a while, as well as a huge problem with Italian bureaucracy. I lost a wonderful band director and spent most of my summer in a basement laboratory, but everything was worth it.

I have  learned a lot this year, academic and otherwise. I somewhat embraced the relaxed Italian attitude and feel like I am much calmer when dealing with stress because nothing can be as bad as dealing with Italian bureaucracy haha. I finally feel like I am fully committed to my research and am excited to start my Ph.D in January. And so, friends, family, EAGLES participants, and those few strangers who stumbled upon this blog and took the time to read it, I say thank you for tuning in but this is the final post I will make. Happy Holidays! May your new year be filled with travelling, adventures, and new experiences!

xoxo,

Alyssa

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