Wednesday, August 27, 2014  
The Charger Bulletin

Livewell’s Latest

by Shannon Livewell | August 27, 2014

Chemistry On & Off Stage; Carrie Elkin and Danny Schmidt

Carrie Elkin and Danny Schmidt, two extremely talented individuals from Austin, Texas, are now becoming one as they form a partnership and release their first album together, For Keeps. The release is coinciding with their wedding in October of this year, so the pair has a busy next couple of months! Playing for Keeps is exactly what this talented duo has decided upon with their music and their relationship off stage and out of the recording studio.

Carrie Elkin and Danny Schmidt (carrieelkin.com)

Carrie Elkin and Danny Schmidt (carrieelkin.com)

After getting the chance to (virtually) speak with both of them regarding their latest album, it was easy to see that their uncanny chemistry and quirkiness rings true both on and off the record. The two began touring together in 2012, and their spellbinding personalities and music has come in through the ears and settled in the hearts of music lovers everywhere.

“Kiss Me Now” is my favorite song from Carrie & Danny, and I came to late find out that this is Schmidt’s proposal song to Elkin at last year’s SXSW Music Festival. It is impossible to not love these two for their music, their passion, and their love story that they share with all of us through carefully constructed songs.

My first question for the couple was what made them venture into this joint project after their long history of solo careers with Red House Records.

“It grew pretty organically out of the path our touring lives had taken,” Schmidt explained. “When we were always touring solo, it got to where we were never seeing each other, and so we made the decision to try and tour more together. We didn’t want to merge ourselves artistically, and play as a full on “duo”…‘cause our writing voices are so distinct from one another. But we wanted to be together more. So we decided to just song swap every night, and pass the guitar back and forth, and sing with each other. The record is exactly that same format. We just selected songs that we thought intertwined nicely with each other, and around a theme of relationship.”

The album is exactly that. An intertwining of the two unique styles that Carrie & Danny encompass. Each song is almost like a conversation between the two, as if you are a fly on the wall in their kitchen on a Sunday morning while they’re making waffles. You get a front row seat to their separate lives merging into one. With relationship songs today revolving around fear of commitment, meeting in bars, and ending in break ups, it is so refreshing to have an entire album making a statement to prove that love not only exists but also lasts, regardless of the pressures that time and life bring.

When I originally heard the album title, I immediately thought of the saying “playing for keeps,” and I had to ask if this would be the first to many joint projects from the two.

“Well, I don’t know about that,” said Schmidt.  “We haven’t planned that either way. Honestly, we haven’t talked about it! The title stemmed from that feeling you have, as a relationship matures and deepens, that the stakes get higher and more significant. A lot of the songs on the record were written in times when we were processing the deepening of our own relationship, and pondering big things like makin’ babies and building a home together and coming to union with another person while maintaining your own individual identity. The songs aren’t necessarily about our lives…but those were the big themes in our lives while we were writing, and so those are the big themes that crept into the songs.”

It is impossible not to relate to these two, especially as they speak more about the passion and drive behind each of the tracks on their new album. Who doesn’t fear change a little? Relationships can be scary, especially when the stakes get higher and the love deepens. Carrie & Danny have written an informal manual to blast through your car speakers when you can’t quite put into words what plagues all of us at one point or another. They’ve covered all of the questions that float through the timeline of a relationship.

“For me, it’s an evolving process,” Schmidt responded when I inquired about his songwriting process and his biggest inspirations. “There’s definitely a strong handful of folks who I can distinctly identify as influences, which is different from inspirations, I know. But I would list Mississippi John Hurt, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom House, and Townes Van Zandt as folks who I can hear in my own style. As far as inspiration goes, I might list Gabriel Garcia Marquez as more of an inspiration than any of the songwriters, per se.  It’s maybe more apparent in the solo stuff I’m working on than on this duo record, but his magical realism really opens the outer boundaries for where a narrative can lead, and I find that really inspirational. Musically speaking, I find our personal songwriter community to be an incredible inspiration. Our friends are extremely talented and creative, and are always raising and shifting the bar of what a song can be for me.”

Carrie Elkin (carrieelkin.com)

Carrie Elkin (carrieelkin.com)

“I grew up singing in church, and understood the importance of connection through singing at a very young age,” Elkin answered. “So, I’ve always been inspired by singers that really understand how to deliver a song. Whether it be a solo performance or connection through beautiful harmony work. I think Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou, the Beach Boys, and Paul Simon were my first favorites. I really did focus on the singing more than the songwriting at that point. I didn’t start playing guitar or writing songs until I was in college, and I never learned cover songs. I learned three chords and instantly started writing. It was kind of cool to not have the heavy duty songwriter influence. I think it helped me create my own unique style. I started down this path of being a musician because I loved singing and didn’t feel connected to the universe unless it was a part of my daily life. I realized the importance of the songwriting later on. So it was an evolving process for me, for sure. I find myself drawn to the rawness of people’s art. I think I’m drawn to it because it’s something that can’t be taught. It’s so inspiring to me.”

I asked if the two had this album in mind for a long time coming, both being from Austin, or if they met at Red House where it seemed only right to connect their roots.

“We met at a festival when Carrie was still living in Boston.  It was just fortuitous that she was about to move to Austin, and we became a couple. We became a couple pretty soon after she moved down here,” Schmidt answered.  “I was actually born and raised in Austin, so I’m a local.  She’s a johnny-come-lately.  I don’t let her forget that.  It’s part of being an Austinite…reminding everyone who’s moved there after you that you’ve been there longer.”

“Yes, Danny does LOVE to brag about that!  I grew up in Ohio, so don’t have that much to brag about! I feel like all the Ohians at my next show are going to throw tomatoes at me,” Elkin lightheartedly added. “We started singing together straight out the chute.  When we were in the same place at the same time, we would sing harmonies on each other’s songs. That helped us gain an understanding for the nuance of each other’s songs.  When Danny brings a new song to me now, I feel pretty confident I’m going to know where he wants harmonies and what he’s going to want those harmonies to sound like.  We’re quite connected and sensitive to each other’s songs.  I’d say we grew together as musicians in that way, and then from there started sharing shows and from that came this idea of an album.  I’d say it was a pretty organic process.”

What is the song that really captures their connection as artists and songwriters, you ask?

“For me, it might be ‘Company Of Friends.’ That one is actually Carrie singing one of my songs, I sing one of hers on the record, as well…‘Swing From A Note.’ That stemmed from us missing each other when we were touring individually so much, and so we started to play each other’s songs as a way to stay connected a bit.  The fact that Company Of Friends is a “connection”…about how our relationships and our community are what ultimately forge our identity…just kinda makes the whole thing feel full circle for me,” said Schmidt.

“I would have to agree with Mr.Schmidt on that one,” Elkin added.

Their chemistry is undeniable, and out of all the interviews I’ve done, this is one I wish could have taken place over coffee with these charismatic, lovely people!

I wondered if the two had rituals before live performances that helped them get to where they needed to be mentally in order to perform a solid set.

“I pace around like a maniac, take a beta blocker to try and calm my nerves, and Carrie tells me it’s gonna all be okay and that I’ll make it through,” Danny confided, “then we throw ourselves onto the stage. I don’t like being up in front of people. So this is a funny job for me. Carrie on the other hand, is a force of nature. The audience just really draws off her energy.”

“Oh jeesh, Danny paces and twiddles around on his guitar. I prefer silence. Our compatibility is questionable just before a show!” Elkin joked.

Like everything about this lovely couple and their relationship on and off stage, their album was an organic process that grew and evolved off their own individual styles. By melding their music, they also melded their passions, and their music encompasses this in the strongest and most relatable sense.

 

It’s time to sit back, enjoy the connection, and let their music speak everything you’ve once thought, or are currently thinking about the love in your life, the fears you face, and the storm you’ve weathered, or are preparing to weather together.

 

 

 

Always left wanting more

by Samantha Mathewson | August 1, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars was a traditional heart-wrenching tragic love story that left the audience tearful for the love that they had clung to throughout the plot development and then lost themselves.

Ansel Elgort, left, and Shailene Woodley, right, share a kiss in Amsterdam (AP Photo)

Augustus, played by Ansel Elgort, left, and Hazel, played by Shailene Woodley, right, share a kiss in Amsterdam (AP Photo)

It is not to say that I did not cry myself nor thoroughly enjoy the film, because I did. However, since I had read the book prior to seeing the movie, I can say that it fell into the general category of movies that are not as good as the books they are based on.

This happens with most movies, but even more often when these movies are cliché and self-reveling as this one was. The Fault in Our Stars is a tragic love story centered on cancer and the clear importance of the people you meet in a support group.

For the most part, all of the main characters are ill, so one can assume that the story is about the decline of one of them or about the miracle(s) the other(s) encounter. Without spoiling the ending, I can say that the movie does just as well of a job as the book did in hiding who that one character was that we were going to have to lose.

The movie did have its sarcastic, humorous moments and the development of the love between two of the main characters was as quirky as could be expected from someone who is chained to her oxygen tank backpack and another who has a prosthetic leg. The audience fell in love with the pair’s cuteness before the characters fell in love with each other, which was almost instantaneous after their meeting.

Faulted for its play on death (combining cancer and the Holocaust) with a kiss in the Ann Frank Attic as Hazel struggles up the many flights of stairs, only to relieve herself with a kiss from Augustus with a round of applause from fellow museum-goeers, and the character’s reliance on answers from their favorite drunk author who has no sympathy for their illness’, while they feel entitled to the answers they seek within the small timeframe they have left, the film recovers with its acceptance and strength as the two surpass their many struggles.

The loss of a character you grow attached to is always painful, and as Hazel says about her favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction, it leaves you wanting more but understanding its abrupt ending. I was left wanting more from the movie, just like I wanted John Green to keep writing, but at least the rest is up to my imagination’s discretion.

A new beginning in NYC

by Elissa Sanci | August 1, 2014

Begin Again, written and directed by John Carney, is a hard film to describe in only a sentence. To label it a comedy would take away from its depth, but to call it heartwarming leaves you with the impression of overemotional acting.

Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley in Begin Again (AP Photo)

Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley in Begin Again (AP Photo)

Begin Again is a sad yet sweet, heartbreaking yet inspiring, soul stirring and emotionally fulfilling film about music and the binding power it possesses.

Originally released in Canada at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, Begin Again made its way to the big screen in June 2014. The film offers an enjoyable cast, starring Kiera Knightly and Mark Ruffalo and including Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfield, James Corden and Cee Lo Green.

Gretta, played by Knightley, moves to New York with boyfriend David, played by Levine, but quickly gets left behind as he moves forward in his music career.

Heartbroken and ready to leave the city, Gretta spends what she believes to be one last night out, where she plays an original song on guitar for a small crowd. It’s here that she meets Dan Mulligan, played by Ruffalo, a down-on-his-luck record label executive; he sees potential in her, and offers her a chance to record her and turn her into a star.

Together, the pair set out to record an album unlike anything else. The music is sweet and catchy, and Knightley surprises everyone with a beautifully angelic voice featured on many of the film’s tracks.

The bonds formed between the characters seemed wonderfully authentic. Each character was extremely relatable and raw, all serving a purpose to the plot.

The film is cinematically beautiful, and offers 12 original heartwarming songs. Begin Again leaves viewers feeling oddly satisfied and fulfilled, and can relate to people from all walks of life.

Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

by Scott Iwaniec | July 16, 2014

Anyone who knows me knows my love for the Transformers movies. I am the unapologetic defender of the Michael Bay Transformers films. Of course I acknowledge the flaws, but as a member of the targeted audience, I was able to happily walk out of the theatre every single time.

Mark Wahlberg, as Cade Yeager, Nicola Peltz as Tessa Yeager, and T.J. Miller as Lucas Flannery, in Transformers: Age of Extinction. (AP Photo)

Mark Wahlberg, as Cade Yeager, Nicola Peltz as Tessa Yeager, and T.J. Miller as Lucas Flannery, in Transformers: Age of Extinction. (AP Photo)

With that being said, I absolutely hate Transformers: Age of Extinction. I generally keep these reviews spoiler free, so details will be excluded. Throughout the entire film I turned to my friends once at least every 90 seconds and point out something that either bothered me, or did not make any sense. By time the film ended, I was beyond bored, angry, confused, and disappointed.

Here’s why: the Transformers films usually have a recipe. I am not referring to the plot formula that each film followed; instead, I’m talking about the pieces in the film that kept me wanting more. The recipe was as follows: a simple plot that can get me from start to finish, likable Autobots who I can get on board with, very attractive females and over the top explosive action.

This film’s first sin is the two hour and 45 minute time span. The second is its plot. The plot tried so hard to be complex, convoluted and intertwining that it quickly gets lost in its own madness and tangles like a slinky. By time the climax happens, you begin to ask yourself, “what exactly are the two sides, and what exactly are they fighting over?”

The Autobots are brand new, aside from returners Optimus (a post-Vietnam Optimus), and the severely underused Bumble Bee. The rest of the Autobots get no introduction, and are the most unlikable robots ever put on film. They are annoying, and you simply do not care for any of them.

There is one hot female, who the movie constantly reminds you is 17-years-old, yet continues to shove her butt on screen in crystal clear definition. This girl is accompanied on-screen by the most annoying and pointless human character out of all four movies, Mark Wahlberg, who clearly looks out of place.

The action is great as always; it just gets exhausting after being stretched out for so long. Even about a third of the computer graphics look unfinished, which is aggravating.

What’s good about this movie? Lockdown: a bounty hunter from Cybertron who identifies as neither Autobot nor Decepticon. I tell you, every second this guy was on screen I was glued. Other than that, there isn’t much to like about this film. And as I said, this is coming from a Michael Bay supporter, so I was not waiting to hate this film. It’s just unfortunate that’s what happened by the end. Please, Paramount, get someone else to direct the fifth movie!

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review

by Scott Iwaniec | July 16, 2014

For the first time since X2 (X-Men United), Brian Singer returns to the franchise and promises to give us one for the books with X-Men: Days of Future Past. Does this film hold up to the hype? Goodness yes! And I say that with enthusiasm and satisfaction.

Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Days of Future Past. (AP Photo)

Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Days of Future Past. (AP Photo)

The reason why this film is so monumental is for the same reason The Avengers was: this was the big crossover film where all characters from each previous movie were included and relevant.

Like The Avengers, X-Men does a great job balancing out screen time, and making everyone seem relevant and significant. The pacing is quick and to-the-point, and characters are all memorable. It was a big worry that Wolverine would be forged as the centerpiece of the film, but I am glad to say that is not true. Wolverine is the medium through which the audience views the events, but the true centerpieces of the film are young Professor X and Mystique.

Like any good comic book film, action scenes are memorable. The opening sequence is reminiscent of the climactic battle in Thor: the Dark World, and I say that with the greatest respect to both.

Like any good X-Men story (film or comic book), the villains are fascinating. There are multiple villains in this film and each is understandable. There are no black/white bad guys and clear answers. Each villain has legitimate motivation no matter how violent their plan is. To me, the greatest villains are the ones where I can shamefully agree with, and this movie has that.

What gives this movie the satisfaction level it has is it’s ending.

SPOILER (kind of): Anyone who knows the X-Men franchise knows how X-Men: The Last Stand is universally hated for its unpopular decisions and deaths. The ending of this film erases all of that. All things you didn’t like are now undone. All time inconsistencies and plot holes have been reduced to a clean slate. And when a certain character walked in at the final moments, I had no shame screaming the “F” word in a sold out theatre. The ending alone is worth the ticket price.

I recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in a thriller with characters who you can invest in. Like Winter Soldier, it’s not just a good comic book film; it is a great film in general.

There is, in fact, word floating around involving a Best Picture Nomination (of course we need to finish off the year to know for sure). Just make sure you see the previous films in the serious. Ditch the Wolverine films, all you need are X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, and X-Men: First Class. Enjoy!

Godzilla Review

by Scott Iwaniec | July 16, 2014

With Pacific Rim proving to be an overall success, it’s no wonder why Warner Bros. would invest in yet another giant monster movie. This time, they decided to invest in the cinematic icon of Godzilla.

Scene from Godzilla (AP Photo)

Scene from Godzilla (AP Photo)

Immediately, this film had skeptics, considering the last (and only other) American-made Godzilla film was one of the worst films of the past 20 years. Could this second chance be America’s redemption? I am happy to report: yes.

For those that haven’t read my reviews before, I usually keep my reviews spoiler free in order to encourage others to see the film and make their own determinations, so plot details will not be included. I will not say this movie is my favorite of the summer, because it’s not. But I will say it’s on the upper tier so far.

This movie thrives on the build up of Godzilla’s presence. You don’t see his full shot until about a third of the way into the film. When you do see him, you don’t see him fight until the end. This may sound boring to hear, but it’s not. The film does a fantastic job building up the viewer’s appetite for destruction.

And boy does it deliver at the end. Godzilla’s victory easily claims the Kill of the Year thus far in 2014. Clearly, build-ups and visuals are the strength of this film. However, I will say it does have some weaknesses that weigh it down just a bit.

The main character, Ford Brody, played by Aaron Taylor Johnson, is simply boring. The middle drags out when they try to emphasize him and his family, and you really don’t care that much.

Brian Cranston, who plays Joe Brody, gives us a great, but short, performance in the first third of the film. Other than that, the characters aren’t really what keep you in your seat. It’s not terrible, but not on par to what it should be.

I recommend this to anyone who wants a fun summer blockbuster for a Friday night. It’s definitely worth the ticket price, so I encourage everyone to see it.

Photo of the Week

by The Charger Bulletin | May 7, 2014
By: Caitlin Duncan, freshman Taken October, 2013 Location: Bronx Zoo

By: Caitlin Duncan, freshman
Taken October, 2013
Location: Bronx Zoo

Livewell’s Latest

by Shannon Livewell | May 7, 2014

Lenny Kaye’s Positive and Optimistic Outlook for the Future of Music

I write about music all the time. Whether it is an article for the paper, a post for my blog, or a Facebook status pointing out an awesome new song, I feel the constant need to share my opinion on the music happening around us today. That is why it was enlightening for me to attend the lecture hosted by Murray Krugman of The University of New Haven music department, featuring Lenny Kaye.

Lenny the Kaye (Obtained via Lennykane.com)

Lenny the Kaye (Obtained via Lennykane.com)

Kaye has worked as a musician alongside the great Patti Smith, a songwriter, a record producer, and a music journalist.

“I’ve never been told to have a certain opinion for an album review,” he said in response to a question asked during his round table discussion this past Monday in the Seton Art Gallery on campus. “I just try to be positive. There is always a secret to an album, you just have to figure it out. I used to pin point certain songs I liked and just focus on them, because out of 12 songs an album, there’s bound to be one you can relate to. I soon realized though that it’s not about the song, it’s about the atmosphere of the album, just like it’s not about a tree, but the forest.”

As someone who is constantly trying to be positive in my album and show reviews, I know how hard it can be to focus an entire piece around a key song; however, I have never really thought about the atmosphere.

“There are certain artists today that are Jello artists,” he said. “There are those generic, just-add-water artists who simply perform into a mold. Then there are artists like Patti.”

Kaye had nothing but great things to say about his good friend and band mate, Smith. He described her as a strong-minded woman who would hold her ground in the toughest of situations, always fighting first for creative freedom when it came to making deals with record labels.

Smith grew up down the street from me in my hometown in South Jersey. Therefore, when he spoke of forming his strong with her over doo-wop music based on where she was from, I could really relate. Growing up right outside of Philadelphia, you are constantly influenced by Philly Soul, be it Hall & Oates or The Stylistics. I had always seen this as a disadvantage for my own career, as if I was born in the wrong decade. That is, until I heard Kaye’s perspective.

“You have to look at artists like Suzanne Vega or Lorde,” he suggested. “When Suzanne was coming about in the 80s she was surrounded by larger-than-life acts, the same as Lorde coming about with the likes of Katy Perry or Pink. This is a time where the audience is in need of a change, even if they don’t know it yet, and when they hear that unique difference from the musical norm at the time, they will push that artist and help them elevate to new heights. I think that’s how Suzanne went platinum.”

It was hard to sit through Kaye’s speech and not feel inspired. He had such a positive, almost spiritual, outlook on music and it’s evolution. This makes him, as he self-proclaimed, a musical historian. He is the co-author of Waylon, The Life Story of Waylon Jennings and is currently working on an album for Waylon’s wife, Jessi Colter. Kaye proved himself in just a few hours, to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Most artists from his generation express the feeling of fear when they look at the music industry today and what it’s become, but Kaye was optimistic. “You all grew up with computers,” he said. “That’s so cool. You have such an advantage and a myriad of technical skills. It will be amazing to see what you all do in the industry and how music evolves in the next fifteen years. I can go down to my basement today and make an album. That is so strange to me, but you virtually have everything at your fingertips. I’m taking a trip to Boston today for a meeting on Colter’s album, and I don’t have to carry ten reels of tape with me to play the tracks. It’s strange, but it’s great.”

Kaye contiuned to say, “I think Rock N’ Roll has ended and I’ll tell you why. Everything that can be done as far as rock music has been done. Now we’re at this new place where bands like The Black Keys are forming. Years ago it would have never been possible for a band to form with only two members unless they were folk with guitars and their voices. It’s exciting for me to see this change.”

It was clear that after

Kaye’s chat with UNH students, they all left feeling positive about their futures and the future of music. This is a man who was born in 1946, and has experienced over four decades of music changes and challenges. I think if there is any opinion I’m going to trust on the forthcoming music industry, it’s Kaye’s. With his Encyclopedia-like knowledge on the decades of music he has lived through, his empathetic personality, and portfolio of music industry involvement, Kaye is a force to be reckoned with.

“You have to look at music like writing about it would confine it. If everything you heard could be described in words, you wouldn’t have music. Chopin’s ‘Nocturne in E-flat Major’ is just a hit single of the 1800’s,” said Kaye.

 

The Charger Battery

by Patricia Oprea | May 7, 2014

Positives:

+ Summer is right around the corner! Remember to stay safe and enjoy these few months without school. Don’t spend it all wishing you were back at UNH, because that will come all too quickly.

+ Congrats to the cast of Spring Awakening for putting on such an emotion-laden and thought-provoking musical with maturity and grace. The set, lights, music, and acting combined to make quite a moving performance.

 

Negatives:

- The workload at the end of every semester. Although we know it is coming, it is rare to plan for it. We say we won’t procrastinate, but every semester eventually brings an all-nighter (or several).

- People on this campus are fiends when it comes to free food, it is always gone so quickly! When organizations advertise in huge print about food at an event, they might as well include “For the first five minutes only.”

 

The Battery Charge:

What an amazing Spring Weekend! From the comedian Loni Love, to the music-themed carnival and the Krewella concert, to the drive-in movie Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, this weekend couldn’t have been better. Thank you SCOPE for putting together such a fantastic few days!

Postcards from Prato

by Samantha Higgins | May 7, 2014

Time in Prato coming to an end.

Riomaggiore, one of the little towns that makes up Cinque Terre (Samantha Higgins/Charger Bulletin Photo)

Riomaggiore, one of the little towns that makes up Cinque Terre (Samantha Higgins/Charger Bulletin Photo)

Well, this is it. By the time you read this we will be more than halfway through Finals Week; our journey here in Prato is coming to an end.

Last week we finished classes and reviewed for finals, students went to Venice, Genoa and Germany, and I personally took a last minute trip with friends to Cinque Terre. This last minute trip was a perfect way to celebrate the end of classes and beginning of finals for me. The view was absolutely breathtaking. The water was gorgeous and the colors of the buildings were so vivid I took as many pictures as I could, but they, like all others, do no justice to the absolute beauty of the location.

We finished Conversation Exchange this week and had a photo contest where each student was able to enter photos they have taken throughout the semester. Categories of the contest included People, Nature, and Places. Once entered everyone came together for pizza and we all got to vote on the winners in each category. It was a great way to not only get everyone together, but to get a chance to see where everyone else has been throughout the semester.

The Food Quality class also took its last trip last week to a frozen pizza factory called Food Italia. We got to see the machinery and the preparation process of the pizza and sandwiches, and all the care that goes into making sure there is no contamination. Each student had to wear hair nets, a jacket over their clothes and plastic on their shoes and wash their hands before entering. It was a very interesting experience!

This week we have finals and Prato Campus Week, finally. We have been hearing about it all semester. We have our last week of Soccer Monday, then Prato Campus Week begins Tuesday with events at Monash, the Australian college that is also in Prato. Events throughout the week include a “speedy” conversation exchange, an Australian Barbeque, lectures about various topics, a band that will go through the streets playing music, concerts, and Saturday there is the run/walk for everyone. In addition to all these activities and finals, Thursday night, after finals are completed, we have our Farewell Dinner. If it is anything like the Welcome Dinner, it will be yet another amazing meal full of wonderful memories for everyone here.

Studying in Prato has been the best experience of my life. Having the opportunity to study here is a wonderful chance for everyone at UNH. After being here I think that everyone should study abroad, it doesn’t have to be here, but the things I’ve seen and done here have been amazing. The campus, trips, meal plan, classes, and staff are all great aspects of Prato. Anyone who never considered it, or who has, but got nervous, and those who have been on the fence about it should just take the leap and hand in an application to study abroad. Don’t worry about money, classes, or anything; hand in an application then work with the staff to figure things out so it works for you. For every step of the process there are people who can help you with everything you need.

All in all, I haven’t even left Prato yet and I already want to come back. I want to plan my next semester or trip to Italy, or maybe just Europe, but somewhere. The experiences I have had here have been more than everything I ever imagined, I took more than 1,000 pictures just to remember and try to share the experience with everyone I can. I highly encourage everyone to study abroad, go outside their comfort zones and experience another culture, language, food, and life.

 

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