As I mentioned in my last blog entry, my name is Seraphina and I am a second-semester sophomore student at Green Mountain College. Last semester I took advantage of one of GMC’s incredible study abroad programs, a trip offered every two years in Merano, the Italian Alps, where programs are taught in an ancient 1400’s castle called Brunnenburg, home in his late years to famous American poet Ezra Pound. This trip is lead by a different GMC professor every time, adjusted to the theme in which courses will be offered during that term, along with Pound’s family members: Mary, Sizzo, Brigitta, Nick, and Michi De Rachewiltz. This year, art and art history professor Jennifer Baker lead myself and thirteen other students to the alps this past fall for a three month trip that has changed my life.
While impossible to share every experience along the way, I will do my best to write at least three blogs in which I can share some of my adventures with the hope that future GMC students will also be encouraged to take advantage of this unreal opportunity.
While we were there, our schedule was set up like this:
Mondays and Wednesdays we had class all day. We were taking seventeen credits while being abroad so there was never a boring moment between studies and excursions. On some of these days, we went on trips with our teachers to different parts of the valley to see ancient castles, churches, monasteries and even armouries. We hiked to various Alms (overnight cabins for hikers in the mountains) and learned how to make different cheeses for our Food and Culture class! We also went on day trips to parts of Switzerland and Austria. Above is a picture that was taken during one of our field-trips when we helped herd an entire batch of goats down the mountain we had hiked earlier that day!
On Tuesdays, we had what was called a work day, which consisted of heavy physical labor from 9am to 6pm in the vineyards underneath the castle and on the farm that surrounded it. We learned about viticulture and the process of making wine and distilling other liquors like schnapps.
On Thursdays, in the morning, we learned to cook traditional Italian, Austrian, and German meals for our lunch with Brigitta, the most incredible chef I’ve ever known. Brigitta, when she isn’t taking care of her animals on the farm, is in the kitchen making our meals. She constantly recieves calls from around the world asking her for recipes and reccomendations on how to prepare food.
After preparing our lunch, thus began our three-day weekends and countless adventures thereafter. To be continued!