Honors Summer Snapshots: Conor

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2017 summer routines via photos. Conor traveled to Italy and learned just enough Italian not to intentionally cause an international incident:

Hey! My name is Conor Duffy, and I’m a Junior at ISU double majoring in Civil Engineering and History! I also work as an Undergraduate Assistant with the Honors Program when school is in session, so you might see me around. I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Italy during the first part of this summer as a part of ISU’s Sustainability and Statistics Program at the Polytechnic Institute of Turin, Italy. During the Spring semester, we had an introductory class in sustainability and Italian language/culture to prep us for this trip. I’m currently writing this at my desk in Jischke, because now I’m back here for the summer *dejected sigh*. For the sake of trying to condense my favorite parts of my trip, this “Snapshot” will be more of a chronological series of pictures in an attempt to fit as much as I can into one blog post.

These first two pictures showcase the beautiful sights of Turin, Italy (feat. some fellow ISU students)! Turin (or Torino, if you’re Italian) is a city of about one million people located in the north-west part of the country (think “mid-shin” on the boot). The picture on the left is of the Po River, which runs through the city.


Honestly, the hardest part of being in a foreign country is trying to figure out how to order food. Most of the time, the language isn’t even the especially difficult part—customs are. When do we pay? How do we order? Does it cost money to sit down at a table? Usually we just wandered into a restaurant or café, pointed at some food and, with an atrocious accent, vomited out “vorrei cuelo” (“I would like that”) and hoped for the best! Sometimes it went well. Other times, Austin (pictured on the right) ended up with a plate of meat. I’m sure it was great, but he was less than enthused…


A large part of this class was comprised of tours of sustainable factories and farms. The picture on the left is our group preparing to tour the Domori Chocolate Factory, and the picture on the right is our group at Mura Mura Farms (they make fruit for gelato). The kind folks at Mura Mura let us pick some strawberries from their field, and they were easily one of the top five things I’ve ever eaten. Not pictured is a series of lectures on both Sustainability and Statistics. Those are just pictures of (now retired) Iowa State Professor Larry Genalo, who has been heavily involved in the Honors Program for, well, ever.


After a week of class, we typically had a long weekend to travel around Italy (or other parts of Europe). Above are two pictures of our trip to Interlaken, Switzerland—by far the prettiest place I’ve ever been; it’s like someone 3D printed some kind of “basic” Pinterest account. Food is absurdly expensive in Switzerland, but the views make up for it. The image on the left is a picture of Austin and me at a mountaintop viewpoint called Harder Kulm. The picture on the right is of a train station a few miles outside of Interlaken that we took to head back to the hostel after a four-hour hike into the mountains. 10/10 would recommend this place.


We had one really long weekend, and we took that opportunity to head to Rome. The picture on the left is Connor and me (and Officer Nugs—a stuffed horse the people of Anders made us bring to Europe) in front of the Coliseum. The picture on the right is of me and Officer Nugs swimming in the Baths of Diocletian (which, unfortunately, are not filled with water anymore).


We also happened to *accidentally* walk into Vatican City while the Pope was speaking (Papa Francesco is circled in the picture to the left). From what we could tell, we were blessed by the Pope, which is neat. Someone told me Papal blessings spread to those who the blessed meet. I’m not sure if that extends through phone/computer screens, but there are decent odds you might be blessed. CONGRATS (maybe).


Later on, we went into St. Peter’s Basilica, which (spectacularly) has amazing lighting (shown to the left). Not sure if that’s a heavenly beam of light or not, but I was impressed nonetheless. Also, there were preserved saints and popes in there, which was interesting… The picture on the right is of our final meal in Rome, roughly a block away from the Vatican.


And, finally, I find myself back in Ames for the rest of the summer. If you need me for any reason, I’ll be at the front desk upstairs in Jischke. The view from my desk isn’t as nice as the Alps, but at least I’m better with the language!

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