So I've encountered two major problems traveling with such a large group to a foreign country. First, someone brought over a cold from the States, and now it is slowly spreading through the group. I thought I might be able to dodge it, but unfortunately I was not that lucky. Tara and both my roommates got it earlier in the week, and now I am experiencing it. I skipped my first class today, a momentous occasion that I hope won't become a regular occurence.
The other problem is a little more serious. We're staying in a four star hotel while in Florence for three weeks, but a group of 150 students from the U.S. just screams easy targets. We all found that out the hard way the other night. We have dinner every night from about 8 pm to 930 pm downstairs in the hotel restaurant. Professionals have been canvassing the hotel learning our schedule. As we went back to our rooms the other nigth after dinner, several students discovered their rooms had been broken into and valuables stolen. Cameras, jewelry, clothes, etc. were all stolen. Thankfully my room was not one of the 10 broken into. It turns out it was an inside job. Someone at the hotel copied a master key and now can get into every room. The key system is also flawed because they only have one key per hotel room so you have to leave it at the front desk everytime you go out and pick it up when you need to get back to to the room. But the hotel workers do not ask for ID, so I could go up and ask for any room key and they wouldn't know it wasn't my room. A little worrisome, but I have started locking my things in our safe or carrying them with me. My laptop is too big for the safe, though.
Tara, my roommate Annalis and I hung out with some Italian guys last night that Annalis had met earlier in the week. It was very interesting. The guy that Annalis liked spoke about 10 words in English, and Annalis knows about 10 words in Italian. Made for an interesting night.