I arrived here in Duino roughly one week ago, however when I consider the wide range of emotions I have experienced, huge number of people I have met and countless presentations regarding new information it feels as though I have been here for much longer than one week. There is so much to say I don’t even know where to begin! I suppose I will start with my residence. There are seven residences which are quite different from each other in location, number of students, size of rooms, availability of fridge space and atmosphere. I am staying in Pala (Palazzine) which is one of the larger residences. It has a quite lively and social atmosphere with a very beautiful dayroom. While you may have to scale a fence to get into the residence complex, it is well worth it.
This first week has felt more like summer camp than school, filled with countless introductions, icebreakers, orientation drills, music (an open mic), dancing, laughter, swimming and fun. While it is certainly a large mental/emotional transition from my home and normal routine, each day I feel more and more comfortable in my new home. There has also been quite a large amount of information sprung on us this week, however even the teachers and administration admit that they do not expect us to remember it all. This weekend we had an introduction to and submitted our choices for social service (the volunteering component of the college). It was incredibly difficult to choose my top three choices because all of the volunteering looked so meaningful and incredible. The opportunities varied from helping provide supplies to refugees, working with the elderly, working with children, working with those with disabilities, playing music, teaching English etc. This coming week we will have an introduction to the physical activities we can choose from complete with taster sessions and I am sure the decision will be just as difficult.
I am quite excited as today we are going to take a tour of the castle here in Duino as well as go into Trieste and have a short tour. One of the residences and the cafeteria (Mensa) are actually in the building which used to be the guesthouse of the castle but I am very excited to visit the main building as well. So far our days have been jam packed however I am sure in the coming months I will be exploring a bit more leisurely. Last night we had a wonderful Welcome Show put on by the second years (secondi) complete with dance, comedy/skits, music, singing and a joyous environment.
We also spent a bit of time learning about the academic requirements for the IB. I am taking six courses (3 higher level and 3 standard level) however due to language requirements some students are taking seven courses. I will be starting off with Math HL, English Literature HL, Chemistry HL, Economics SL, Italian B SL and World Arts and Cultures SL. World Arts and Cultures is actually a course that was developed by the college and one of the classes I am most looking forward to because of the rich and intriguing concepts as well as the field trips to other cities in Italy! There is some flexibility in changing courses so if I find that my classes are not fitting well with me I can potentially change some of them. For example I am in Italian B SL (the second beginner Italian class) however in one month the teachers will evaluate and recommend if you should go into the other beginner class or stay. It was quite difficult to choose classes as well because there are so many options but simply not enough time.
I am likely forgetting lots of things that I was going to write about but I will probably include more in my later posts.