Finally home after a long summer of study abroad, and I can definitively say that I had the most epic summer of all time! Right after the study abroad program in Madrid I headed to Pamplona for the San Fermin festivals (aka the Running of the Bulls!) It was a completely insane experience. The city of Pamplona only has a population of about 100,000 but for the San Fermin festivals the population jumps to well over 1,000,000. People were everywhere, and because the festivities go all through the night and finish with the running of the bulls each morning, people were taking naps on benches, sidewalks, and even street medians when we got there in the afternoon. We spent the first day scoping out places to go and the running of the bulls course itself. The following morning, three friends from the abroad program and I got ready to go in our white and red suits and did the running! It was one of the coolest things I have ever done, and also one of the scariest. Turns out, bulls can get to be pretty big. All of us made it through without a scratch though, thankfully, and we took the following day off from Pamplona to go see San Sebastian, a small beach town about 45 minutes North. from the left: me, Jason Hoffman, Steven Ilami, and PJ Iannone at 5:30 a.m. before the running thousands of revelers out on a field waiting for a fireworks show at night
After Pamplona, a group of 7 of us went on to Montpellier and Nice in France, followed by Florence and Rome in Italy. There are so many amazing things about every city we went to, but my absolute favorite thing was the Canoli we ate in Rome. Sure, the Colosseum is cool, and so is the Vatican, but nothing can compare to the wonder that was the Canoli we found at a little shop called D’Agnino’s. I’d go back to Rome just for that. After Rome, the rest of the group came back to the US and I met up with a roommate from last year. We traveled to Munich, followed by Paris and finally London. In Paris, we were able to catch the final day of the Tour de France, seeing Wiggins cross the finish line near the Arc de Triumph, which was simply spectacular. In London, we saw the first few days of the Olympics, catching a Belarus v. New Zealand soccer match at Coventry stadium.
After a long day of travel though, I am home, and could not be happier. My experiences abroad are ones that I will cherish forever, and I am thankful for the opportunity USC gave me to study abroad during the summer, but I’m also definitely looking forward to my next few weeks at home and then going USC for fall semester. With new classes, new housing, and an awesome football season to look forward to, I can’t wait to dive in!