Posted: December 5th, 2011
By: Emily Nahan-Krokti
I know everyone says this, but I really could not wait for my 1L year to be over. Yes, that year is stressful for everyone but the end of my IL year marked the beginning of my European summer in London and Venice.
The beauty of England was immediately evident to me. Upon my arrival, as I was taxying from the Luton airport to the Worrell House, I was surrounded by such stereotypically beautiful English hillsides, I half expected to see Mr. Darcy on horseback cantering alongside my taxi. This feeling of surreal beauty continued all month. The Worrell house is in a swanky neighborhood; proof of this is that its neighbors are Jude Law, Helena Bonham Carter, and Tim Burton, for those celebrity stalkers. The house itself is spacious but cozy with a gorgeous English garden. I had high hopes of travelling every weekend while abroad but I quickly realized that was not necessary when in London. You could spend years in London and still find new things to do. There is great theatre, world famous museums, parks, clubs, and, contrary to old standards, fantastic food. Although all of the wake students were on a bit of a budget, we were still able to enjoy the city. I managed to see Wicked at a discounted last minute rate, catch a play at the Globe for next to nothing, and eat fantastic Indian and Thai food, the new “local” London cuisine.
In case you do get weary of the city, day and weekend trips are easy and can be accomplished with little to no planning. The one weekend trip I managed while in the UK was to Edinburgh, Scotland, a city that makes you feel like you’ve travelled in time, and a mere 2 hour flight from London. The school planned day trips to Cambridge and Oxford, Cambridge being my absolute favorite. We toured the campus with a punting tour. A Punting boat is like a gondola but instead of an oar the “punter” uses a stick to push off the bottom of the river bed to propel the boat forward. This was a fantastic way to see the Cambridge campus and our punter was nice enough to let us try the punting for ourselves. Stonehenge is also a great day trip as well as Stratford upon Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace, and so much more. Oh yeah, and we had classes. In all seriousness the classes were fantastic, I took an art law class with Professor Lentz. Some of the cases we read for her class disputed ownership artifacts we actually got to visit in the London museums. We also had the opportunity to have class in the British museum one day.
Once the London program had come to an end, I had about a 10 day break before our Venice program started. A group of us decided to travel together but, after a month of spending British Pounds, we wanted a cheap solution and did not want the daily planning that train travel requires. The answer was an Adriatic cruise! We flew to Venice where we were picked up and dropped of by our cruise ship, a perfect location for our upcoming program in the “floating city.” The cruise was perfect because we didn’t have to plan anything, we got to see beautiful beach towns in Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia, and it was so affordable! This comes with the warning that cruises can be 90% families and retirees but if a group of students go, you will have too much fun to notice the lack of young people.
After spending a month in London and a week on the Adriatic, I was officially spoiled, but the Venice program could not have been better. Unlike London, I left Venice every weekend to travel. The first weekend a small group of us went to Sicily where I had the best meal of my life. The next weekend we travelled to Pompeii and visited the ruins and hiked Mount Vesuvius. I spent my final weekend in Cinque Terre. Everyone should see Cinque Terre at least once in their lives. Cinque Terre is a region composed of five tiny towns built on the mountainside of the coast of the Italian Riviera. Hiking trails and small trains connect each town with the most breath-taking views imaginable.
Although the travel was fantastic in Italy, getting to know our Italian classmates was an experience you can’t miss. They are warm, hospitable, fun loving people that taught us more about the Italian legal system, politics and culture, than any class could.
I cannot recommend the study abroad program enough. Let’s face it, legal careers are time consuming and it will be difficult for most of us to take two months off work to travel Europe ice we’re climbing that career ladder. I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity while you can. Because the study abroad classes are so small and you live in the same area as your professors you get to know them better than if you simply took a class with them in Winston Salem. Furthermore, the credits you get for the summer programs really makes it easier for you during the school year.