Vendi. Vidi. Amavi: We came. We saw. We loved.

June 15, 2017
Mary Louise Daniel

Ever wondered what it’s like to experience legit Italian pizza while walking side by side
with your friends along the streets of Florence? Ever thought of the possibility of learning a
timeless and beautiful language while also meeting people from the different walks of life? Ever
 recognized the feeling of falling in love with the splendour of the European culture from a first
hand perspective? We came. We saw. We loved. It was exactly what we did when we packed
our bags, got ourselves on the plane last April 16, 2017 and embarked on a two-week journey
to the land of divine art and ancient culture, Italy.

            Vendi. We came, not just as students but as travellers, ready to discover a whole new
different world of preserved tradition. Florence and Rome became our homes away from home
during the study tour. But I can honestly and passionately say that the hearts of everyone in the
 group definitely stayed in Firenze or Florence, specifically in Villa Morghen. The whole place
was something straight out of a storybook. From the fantastic mountainview we got to witness
everyday, the rooms that came with the cozy atmosphere, the entertainment such as the
recreation room and the library to the warm company that everyone who worked at the place
brought along with them everyday, you can clearly see that everyone got emotionally attached
to that Villa and the comfort, the love and the experiences it adhered into our lives. 

Vidi. We saw the living art that is Italy itself through first hand perspectives. Aside from
memorizing every nooks and crannies of the streets in Florence and exploring the impeccable
beauty of Rome, we also got to visit other places such as Venice and its famous canals, Lucca
and its movie-like aesthetics, Pisa with its leaning tower and of course, the Vatican and the
strength of faith it widely preserves. We visited so many churches and we really got to immerse
ourselves in the origins and the stories behind the stunning structures and in return, we got to
know our faith even more. What’s a trip to the land of divine art without visiting the artwork
 themselves? Aside from the amazing architecture and well-polished streets, our breaths were
 taken away by the works of the different genius artists of our history such as Leonardo Da
Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelliand so many other artists who made history. Witnessing the art
that we used to only see on TV or history books really got our creativity going. We weren’t just
immersing ourselves in the history, reason and story behind them but we were also inspired by
how much beauty a human can create. It brought a deeper sense of value to the things around
 it, to the history it made and to the people it influenced. 

            Amavi. We loved. But it wasn’t only the paintings, sculptures and monuments we got to
see that made us love the entire tour so much, it was the little things, the experiences we got to
have with the people we were with. It was the time when we all looked forward to stopping by
a gasoline station or in Italy, they call it an ‘Autogrill’, because we either needed to buy some
food, use the restroom or just needed to use the Wifi, the time we stayed up late in the
recreation room talking about our lives and bonding with each other and the times we spent
inside the classroom learning a language with our Italian mentor, Angelo. It was also when we
were riding the bus and everyone had to look out for each other just to check if everyone’s
complete or somebody’s lost. It was the times when we were eating in the dinning hall while
rambling about the things we shopped or how our day was. It was the moment when
everybody was concerned because some of the people in the group got sick. It was the time we
all ran around Florence on our own because we were playing a treasure hunt and everyone had
maps, pens and the lessons we learned inside the classroom to help us along the way. It was
that time when we had a project to interview Italians and ask where the best gelato and panini
in Florence can be found. It was when we made tiramisu together with only Italian instructions
and translators to guide us. It was those moments when we all craved for gelato despite the 4
degree weather. It was that moment when we all received our certificates for completing the 2-
week Italian course in our classroom and marching music was played on somebody’s Spotify. It
was the little ‘chikka’ moments we had with Ma'am Fe and Sir Noel during the trip. It was the
moments we got to roam the streets of Florence on our own because we know the place like
we’ve lived there all our lives. It was these little moments, these little stories that made the trip
meaningful. It really did impact our lives in a way we cannot explain. We were given
independence in a land of timeless beauty. We lived their culture for two weeks but we brought
back experiences that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Truly, the best way to live is to
travel, to see the world and to embrace the different perspectives you will come to meet. This
Italy study tour unlocked the inner ventures in our hearts. We are beyond grateful to the
people behind that experience because without them, it wouldn’t be the same. It was
something beyond our imagination, beyond our expectations. We surely did come. We saw. We
loved. But we also learned. We learned something you can’t just pick up within the four walls of
our classrooms.