I’m back with another list of very exciting stories to tell you all.

Last week, school was very busy.  Papers, midterms, and fieldtrips were occurring every which way.  This is only because we only have 4 more weeks left of classes!  We’re already half way done with our classes portion of the study abroad experience.  It’s crazy.

We toured the London financial district during our British Life in Business class on Tuesday.  I found it very interesting that the concept of the stock exchange started in coffee shops.  These shops were so significant and made London the financial center of Europe for such a long time.  The city has plaques all over it commemorating various important coffee shops that burnt down at different points in time.  I just love learning outside of the classroom.  The British education model is very interesting and I believe that the American model could learn from a few things from it.

My Media in Britain class this week was so much fun!  We got to learn about British reality television!  After the lecture on this form, we pitched a possible show to the class and then watched a few episodes of uniquely British reality television.  It is amazing how different our interpretations of reality television are.  British TV has to fulfil a public service (though sometimes this is questionable).  In America, our reality television can cover just about anything: from pawn shops to child beauty pageants.  The class is a great way to experience the culture here through a mass media platform that reaches many households, and I am lucky to get to have this experience.

Speaking of experiences studying abroad provide, I was able to travel to Venice this weekend.  Italy is the second European country I have ever been to.  The time we spent in Venice was incredible!  Canals and colourful architecture surround the city.

However, finally arriving at our hotel was very challenging.  Buckle your seatbelts, because the story I am about to tell you is a rough one.
This story begins on Friday 1:45 in the morning.

  1. My alarm clock goes off. Brent, Zach, and I need to leave to catch a London city bus to a bus stop for the airport coach to pick us up.
  2. We catch the bus at 2:00 am and walk to the coach stop.
  3. We arrive at the coach stop and wait for our 3:03 am coach to arrive. Two other busses pass us (because they run every 15 minutes) and say they are not ours.
  4. It is 3:03 am and our bus PASSES us. The bus driver did not stop at our bus stop.  We begin to question why he would do that.  Frazzled, we wait for the next bus.  This feels like the longest fifteen minutes of our lives.  Finally, the bus pulls up and the driver lets us on without a problem after we explained the scenario.  We pull off relieved.
  5. We get to the airport and head straight for security. I accidentally left water in my water bottle that I wanted to bring to Venice with me.  So, my bag gets pulled aside and searched.  I apologized to the guard for leaving my water in so carelessly.  He said I had to dump it, but I could keep the bottle.
  6. Once we finally pass security, we decide to get some food while we wait for our gate to be announced. The gate is announced as I finish eating.  There is a 15 minute window to get to the gate until our tickets said boarding was closed.
  7. The three of us headed off on the 10 minute walk to get to the gate with supposedly ten minutes left to get there before boarding “ended”. Halfway on our journey we see a monitor for our flight saying “FINAL CALL”.  We had no idea that the window to get to the gate would be so small.  Therefore, we started running through the airport.  We thought we were going to miss our flight for sure.  Once we arrived at our gate, there was a huge  We never really were at risk for the plane leaving us behind.  However, I do not think that the airport’s “final call” wording was fair to put on monitors and freak out the passengers with.
  8. We boarded and departed from the plane easily and hopped on a bus that promised it would take us to Venice.
  9. After we got off the bus the three of us decided that we could do the ten minute walk to our hotel by ourselves and through our phones’ navigation system. BIG MISTAKE.
  10. After 1.5 hours of walking in circles in Venice, we realized that we were mapping ourselves to the wrong address and our hotel wasn’t even on the main island. We needed to take a water taxi.
  11. I routed us to the nearest water taxi stand and was so happy that we were finally almost at our hotel. My mapping app told me that we could either take the 4.1 or 4.2 ferry to the island.  Unknowingly, we took the 4.1.  BIG MISTAKE!!!!  Apparently these routes are the same except one goes clockwise and the other counter clockwise.  We needed to take the 4.2 (which runs clockwise) about two stops.  Instead, we hopped on 4.1 and rode clockwise around ALL of Venice.  This took 2 hours! LONGER THAN OUR FLIGHT TO VENICE.  Being on a crowded boat for that long was exhausting.  However, we did get to see all of Venice in the first few hours we were there.  So, that was pretty cool.
  12. After our very, very, very long boat ride we finally got to our hotel on the other island at 2:00 pm exactly, and coincidentally our check in time. So even with all of these negative events occurring, something positive came out of it.
  13. We dropped off our stuff and headed out to find some food.
  14. However, every restaurant was closed for their siesta. We finally made it to Italy and we couldn’t even eat because everyone wanted to take a nap.  The whole series of events was tragic.  We finally stumbled upon a bakery and were able to eat a light lunch to tide us over until dinner.  Then we joined the culture and took our own siestas.
  15. That night we met up with the other UF guys who flew in at night and we ate some really good Italian food. We proceeded to do this step for the next two days we were in Venice.


At the end of the day, Friday was an experience.  There were highs and quite a few more lows than we anticipated.  But, we made the most of it.  The rest of the trip was incredible and I am very happy we went.  I would argue that everyone should go to Venice at least once in their life, if possible.  The culture was amazing and the fact that we went during their carnival celebration was an added bonus.  It also helped that almost everyone we talked to spoke English.   Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip.

The main island at a distance

An elaborate carnival costume

I loved my mask

All of us at dinner in our masks

Venice was gorgeous and a lot of fun.  However, I am happy that I am studying abroad in London.  I have really become acclimated to the city life, and I absolutely love it.  You truly never know what is going to happen next.  I cannot wait to see what this week has in store for me.  But, at the same time I can wait because I want to savor every single moment.

Ciao for now,

Jennifer Saporito


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