Final Exams

By: Neolle Winter

December 2015

Buongiorno, parents! It’s Week 13 here in Firenze, which means final exams have descended upon us. But just as they do every December, the feelings of both preparedness and under preparedness are second only to the overwhelming feeling of a bittersweet farewell. Students have begun making lists of all the things they have not done in Florence (finally see The David) and the places they loved so much that the semester would not be complete without returning (Gusta Pizza, anyone?).

Last night GIF hosted the Final Dinner to gather as a group for the first time since Opening Tour in Paris. This time, however, the faces were familiar and the laughter was abundant as always. Experiencing this semester abroad with my classmates and friends—honestly, at this point they’re more like family—is one that I know I will never forget…and I don’t use clichés lightly. Living in very close quarters with my three roommates and sharing lunch and dinner as a pensione every night has created a bond between us all that is rare to find outside of the Gonzaga community. Any Zag alum will say the same—I should know, my parents and two brothers are all Bulldogs—the sense of community at Gonzaga and the compassion we have for each other is something we take immense pride in and have not hesitated to bring it across the globe with us from Spokane to Florence, Dublin, Budapest, Vienna, Marrakech, Brussels, and everywhere in between.

162 of my classmates return home for good next week but I am lucky enough to be one of the few students returning in the spring. It is hard to imagine next semester even coming close to how incredible this one has been but I know that new countries, adventures and friends are waiting for me. So as we all start stuffing our suitcases to the 23kg limit (shh, my family doesn’t know I’m coming home for Christmas), cramming for those looming exams, and bidding arrivederci to this magical place, I want to thank you all, on behalf of the friends I have known for years and the many many more I have made in 4 short months, for making this wonderful adventure possible.

C’e vediamo presto!

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