Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fall Semester 2009

We had a great semester in Sicily during the ICCS-CET Sicily study abroad program for Fall 2009. I want to thank program participant Dana Lindauer for faithfully chronicling our semester in this blog. The group arrived on September 2nd and hit the ground running with our two visiting faculty Professors Ian Sutherland and Marco Zangari. After a few days of orientation and an excursion on Mt. Etna classes started up at a frenetic pace and did not let up until our trip to Africa in week 7.

Group at Mt. Etna with geologist Sandro Privitera
during Orientation.

Group during orientation

The trip to Tunisia is often cited as a highlight by students and this year was no different. Being able to see and touch Roman mosaics in-situ and stroll Roman streets in well-preserved towns in the hinterland of northern Tunisia make for a wonderful experience. Our mini-tour in Tunisia is all work and no play but we would not have it any other way. The Roman sites of Bulla Regia and Dougga are gems of Roman archaeology but without the hordes of Pompei. We also visit the remains of Carthage and then spend a few hours marveling at the Roman mosaics collection at the Bardo Museum in Tunis. Before returning to Catania we spend a few days in Western Sicily visiting some Greek, Phoenician and Norman sites.

Roman theater at Dougga in Tunisia.

Statue at Mozia in Sicily.

Norman Cathedrale at Monreale near Palermo.

After our long trip we had a few more days of classes and then the students were rewarded with a much needed semester break. During the month of November a few of us took part in the extraordinary activity of hiking around Europe's tallest active volcano for two days and one cold night. When we arrived at our cabin at the end of day one we were tired, cold and hungry. We ate by the cozy fire place and told funny stories. At about 9PM we heard a quick knocking at the door and our hearts sank. Our already cramped quarters were invaded by 6 more hikers who in perfect local custom began preparing a four course meal that would make a chef blush. The students and myself found flat, protected ground outside the cabin and slowly fell into a chilly, restless slumber. The sun could not have come soon enough and we were off to complete our circumnavigation of Mt. Etna. It was a magical experience all in all and we were so lucky to have local geologist, Sandro Privitera as our guide.

View of Mt. Etna on day two of our hike.

I had a great time getting to know the group this semester and I have so many wonderful memories of our time together.

Final group dinner on December 16th.

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