Alex Abroad: Arts adventures in Italy | Work of Arts
Alex Abroad: Arts adventures in Italy | Work of Arts

Alex Abroad: Arts adventures in Italy

Arts student Alex Migdal confesses the reason he’s most excited to study in Italy this spring

Alex Abroad is a mini-series by guest blogger Alex Migdal, an Arts student attending the spring term at the Faculty of Arts School in Cortona, Italy. This is Alex’s first entry.

Over the past few weeks, people have been asking me what I’m most excited about for my upcoming spring term in Cortona, Italy. The sensible, parent-approved answer would be something about soaking up the country’s history and nurturing my budding mind. But let’s be honest — I’m really there for the pasta and wine.

They both come in abundance in Cortona and, even better, in our residence. Dinner at the school is made up of three courses: a pasta or rice, followed by meat or fish, and topped with a dessert. Bread and wine are served liberally. It’s enough to make me want to cry glutinous tears.

To be frank, the thought of all that carb loading is what’s gotten me through the final stretch of my five-year degree.

As an English & Film Studies student, screaming at a blank Word document has been my only form of social interaction for the past few weeks. So you can imagine how stoked I am to meet other students and crisscross the Tuscany region (or, as everyone likes to point out, that place where they filmed that Diane Lane movie).

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Photo Credit: Alex Migdal

I got a taste of the study abroad experience the summer after my second year, when I interned as a production assistant in Washington, D.C. Besides the fact that I nearly melted because the city is built on a swamp, I had the best time of my life. When else do you get the chance to ruminate about your future with other bright-eyed millennials on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial till dawn?

I’m hoping I’ll get to recreate those kind of memorable moments this summer in Italy. Here’s the plan: a one-month stint in Cortona, where I’ll be taking a class on travel writing (which includes an essential gelato and espresso break each lecture). Then a trek through seven other European countries for the rest of the summer. Pit stops include a beachy stay in Nice, France and bike-riding through the absurdly attractive streets of Copenhagen.

Planning the trip has been less idyllic. Hours of late-night research have led me to the weirdest corners of YouTube and internet forums. My backpack is dangerously overstuffed and I’ve got a tenuous grasp on the most basic of Italian words.

But nothing quite matches the thrill of knowing I’ll soon be bound for the pasta capital of the world.


For more information about the Faculty of Arts School in Cortona, click here.

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About Alex Migdal

Alex Migdal

Alex Migdal is a soon-to-be-graduate of the English & Film Studies program. But first, he'll have to pass his final class, a travel writing course in Cortona this spring. It's a daunting task. Alex is also a journalist and has written for various publications, including the Edmonton Journal, Metro, Quill and Quire and Vue Weekly. When he's not searching for WiFi, you'll find him daydreaming about cheese and botching the lyrics of your favourite song.