Bison Abroad | Of Midterms and Mountains

It started like a bad joke: an American, a Puerto Rican and a Hungarian crammed into a tiny car and drove to a tiny village called Carona.

RYAN KOCKELMAN | THE SPECTRUM The mountainous region of northern Italy offers a break from bustling city life.

Every once in a while, it’s nice to get out of the big city. Milan has a bit of a pollution issue, and despite the beauty of the city, sometimes just breathing the air will give me a mild headache. To remedy this, some friends and I decided to escape the city for a day and go adventuring.

Italy is full of incredible landscapes. Hills, rivers, lakes and, like, other fantastic things. The northern regions of Italy, due to their closeness to Switzerland, are full of mountains and valleys that are just begging to be explored. We parked the car on the side of a road and got out. From there, we had nowhere to go but up.

The mountain range was full of rivers, waterfalls, caves and abandoned old-timey shacks and villages. The fresh air filled our lungs — a very noticeable difference. Climbing up to a mountain peak, and witnessing the breadth of creation was something truly incredible to behold.

It’s not until you spend significant time away from everything that you realize how much you needed a break. With midterms approaching, everyone is feeling a little more stressed out, and in busy times we often forget how important it is to take time (even an entire day) to rest.

At the end of the day, nothing beats trying to find a stellar pizzeria and then indulging before school returns the next day.

On top of studying for midterms, my family is coming to visit on Saturday. Eight of them. I have a full week of activities and places I have to take them, so there won’t be as much time to study. But, scheduled rest time might just be something we all need.

Ryan Kockelman is an NDSU student who shares his experiences studying abroad at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Italy.

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