My weekend started off with me rushing to the train station as I had overslept but in traditional Italian fashion, the displayed time on the train ticket was only a ‘suggestion’ and so after making a 30-minute walk to the station a speedy 15 - I still had plenty of time to spare. I was off for my first solo weekend trip! I was going to explore every inch of Rome that I possibly could in 3 days. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Vatican City, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and other beautiful sights. Of course, a trip recap wouldn’t be complete without the foodie aspect: After hopping off the train at Roma Termini, I went straight to Mercato Centrale, the food market which was conveniently next to the train station. I had a steaming hot arancini and after my last bite... I knew I had to have at least one more in my time here. That night I had a delicious seafood pasta and finished it off with a biscotti ice cream! The food is definitely different from the food in Florence, especially the pizza! A tip - in Rome they weigh their pizza and so the safest order for one person is always 100g... I ordered 200g and had pizza for two meals that day! I’m so incredibly lucky to have been able to have the long weekend to explore Rome by myself, it was nice to be able to spend some alone time and take a step back from all the chaotic school stress.
As the last week of the program was right in front of us, my roommate and I, emotional as ever decided that we had to make the most of our last week here. We spent our lunch breaks at our favourite restaurant Amalfi - which was conveniently a three minute walk from school and often spent our nights bonding over gelato.
The week was heavily focused on finishing our final project. The stress levels went off the roof, however I had to remind myself how lucky I was to have been able to be taught by such experienced professionals in beautiful Florence.
Late night group presentation practices were a regular occurrence with the deadline coming up. Even though group projects are dreaded like the plague, I count my lucky stars for this project. I got to work with my roommate, another Australian, as well as a lovely character from Iceland! I don’t know what I would have done without these people. The project was incredibly difficult and required a lot of time and dedication. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day and obviously a museum can’t be rebranded in one either.
Our second last day was here and the school was putting on an event to celebrate diversity in the fashion industry. There were several guests from partner brands such as Barone Firenze. It was nice to put on makeup for the first time since being here and dress up fancy. Towards the end of the night, the song ‘Nutbush City Limits’ came on and every single Aussies in the room got into formation and started dancing - it was an instant flashback of primary school dance lessons. We ended the night with all Aussies huddled up singing Shannon Noll and showing the Italians how Aussies let loose.
The final day of school meant one thing: presentation day. The party high was gone and everyone was stressed for the final presentation. It was nice to finally be able to meet the students taking the other graphic design course and see what they had to do for their assignments. Everyone’s presentations were great successes and it really came to show that all the stress, tears and hard work really was worth it. After the diploma ceremony that afternoon, our class went for dinner and drinks! Which was surprisingly the first time I had spoken to some of the people there. It was the best night I’ve had since being here, no stress, nothing on our minds except for the plan to enjoy the night. Whilst the others were moving on to the next bar, my roommate and I decided to call it a night as we all had early starts the next day. As I said goodbye to my Icelandic friend I suddenly got so emotional, tears flooded my eyes as I realised I would probably never hear him do his annoying ‘crikey mate’ impression or see him try to do the Nutbush dance again.
School was done, it was time for everyone to part ways. I was headed to Cinque Terre for a few days and although I was sad to be leaving my roommate, I could not be more excited to visit the picturesque towns that I had heard so much about!
This experience has given me so many learning opportunities. I’ve become a stronger designer, traveller and person. There were times where I just wanted to go home, times where I had literal ‘I want my mummy’ moments - but I’m glad I stuck it out. I still, to this day, can’t believe that I was all the way in Florence doing what I love with so many amazing people. How many people can say they’ve been able to do this? If this opportunity ever comes up for anyone, I highly recommend having your experience through AIM Overseas. They have been incredibly helpful throughout this whole process and take care of you even when you’re on the other side of the world. Special thanks to my roommate for keeping me sane during the crazy times and to all my loved ones back home for talking to me everyday to see what I was up to, how I was feeling and of course, what I had been eating. I will miss being in sunny Italy but I am very keen to get back to the freezing Canberra weather where the warmth of my family and friends is all I need.
Hi, I'm Alice Tran! I’m in my second year studying Graphic Design/Communications at the University of Canberra. In my spare time I love to cook and write poetry. I can’t wait to explore Italy especially for the food but of course the program that I’m lucky enough to be part of!
"The information was fantastic and the quality of the tutors, their support and depth of knowledge was superb. It was a privilege to be apart of the program and to have been taught by such a calibre of tutors and professionals."
"It was amazing learning from teachers that were very successful in their own fields, and meeting other designers from around Australia and the world. Living Italy opened my eyes to how similar and different the rest of the world is!"
"This program was an amazing experience and it was completely safe and well organised for a female travelling singularly, and for anyone who has ever wanted to see the world and study at the same time..."