by Umbra Rep Lauren Pawlowski, University of Connecticut
Part of adjusting to life in a new country while studying abroad is figuring out ways to make this place feel like home. Exploring the city and surrounding areas is exciting, but it’s good to balance taking trips and doing casual things around Perugia. I have lived in Connecticut for my whole life, so it is a little overwhelming trying to fit in with the Italian culture. Although this feeling may be common amongst the American students here, there are many ways to manage stress and feel more at ease with life abroad. Taking advantage of your free time is one the best ways to do so! So although watching Netflix may be tempting, here are 10 different ways to enjoy your spare time:
1. Looking for inspiration or something new to look at? Visit the art gallery or historical exhibits in the city fortress, la Rocca Paolina. Or you can take a stroll down Via Cartolari and Via della Viola to see outdoor murals and public art.
2. Feels like you’re eating too many carbs? Here are the local workout options: get a gym membership, visit Metropolitan Boulder (a rock climbing center where Umbra students get a discount), or run around the city or at the local track. If you’re looking for fewer hills, visit the parks around the city. One of them is Percorso Verde in Pian di Massiano (get there by Minimetro), where you can walk, run, play ping-pong, or just relax.
3. Start a new hobby: journaling, drawing, painting, playing the ukulele, reading books, writing poetry, etc. There are art supplies available at the Flying Tiger Copenhagen store and Novart Deco, both located in the city center. You can also buy books around town (look for “Libreria”). Journaling or making art about your experience can help you remember all the aspects of your study abroad adventure. Also, if you brought a nice camera then Perugia has many beautiful views to photograph!
4. Cook a new recipe or try new foods. You can search recipes online, ask a staff member, or talk with a local about new dishes to try. Enjoy a meal with your roommates or invite a friend over.
5. Watch a movie at the cinemas around the city. There are English movie nights on Wednesdays at PostModernissimo or other theaters. Ask the Umbra staff for advice on where to go.
6. Experience the best of Perugia: walk around, explore, or sit on the steps and chat with the locals.
7. Go to the mall (Centro Commerciale Collestrada) via a 35-minute bus ride. There you can find H&M, Zara, IKEA, and other popular stores. Or you can peruse the shops around the city center for some quick finds. There are a few thrift stores in Perugia, but you’ll have to take a bus or use the Minimetro to get to them.
8. Enjoy a coffee, sandwich, or aperetivo with a friend or with someone new. It helps to have a chat over food or a casual drink.
9. Visit the outdoor markets around the city for fresh farm produce, fish, truffles, clothing, and handmade goods.
10. Call a friend or family member back home to tell them about your experiences, get advice, or hear about life back in the States.
Check the Activities and Map sections of the Umbra App for more ideas and trips happening in the area!