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Buon Giornio & Arrivederci: Group Travel to Italy

Student group travel has come to an end for the spring semester Baylor in Maastricht crew. As student blogger Danny Huizinga reflects on his last European excursion before returning to the States, he knows this may have been the first, but it won’t be the last. After all, he is a world traveler now.  

It’s surreal to be writing the last Europe Bulletin. In just a day, I’ll be flying home to America.

We’ve spent the last week traveling around Italy. From Tuscany to Rome to Florence to Lake Como, it’s been a time full of adventures. Besides the train strikes, I really love Italian culture. The food is delicious, the people are friendly, and the countryside is breathtaking.

Horseback Riding in Tuscany

Though most people speak some English, we have definitely had some interesting communication experiences in which we must try to speak Italian (or use hand gestures). Some people (including those who own the apartment we rented in the countryside outside Florence) don’t speak any English at all, leading to a fun adventure every time we try to communicate. On one occasion, I was trying to describe to the owner how I loved his land in the countryside. Unable to understand, he just spread out his arms and commented, “Tranquilamente.” I just smiled and agreed.

In general, we’ve had a delightful, relaxing time in Italy. Rather than always being in hostels, we’ve stayed at some apartments and hotels too. Split between all of us, we still save money—and we get to meet some great families from Italy!

Apartment in Florence

One of my favorite memories was Easter in Florence. My friend and I went to the Duomo, the main cathedral in the center of town. Before the service started, the church leaders lit a rocket from the front. It shot down the center aisle along a zipline to a giant cart of explosives right outside, creating a fireworks show for 15 minutes!

Easter Rocket in Florence Cathedral

I’m sending this from Maastricht now, after a 14-hour trek home on the trains yesterday. Looking back through my pictures of the last 3 months, I can’t even believe how much I’ve gotten to experience. 

I owe a lot of thanks. First, my parents. I couldn’t have done this without them, and I am so blessed that they wholeheartedly supported (and encouraged) my decision to study thousands of miles away. I am also blessed by those at Baylor who put together this trip. I’ve had the honor of getting to know some of the original founders of the Maastricht trip—they started such an amazing tradition. The professors on this trip were also so helpful in making sure everything went smoothly for us! Also, I am grateful to all those in organizations I’m involved in at Baylor (especially Men’s Choir) that graciously allowed me to leave for a semester, showing no hesitation to welcome me back. 

And of course, I’m very thankful to Millennium Tours for all they did to put this trip together.


It’s been such a life-changing experience.

I hope you all enjoyed sharing it with me.  For now, this is the last Europe Bulletin.

But who knows? I’m sure I’ll be back someday.

Looking to give your students have a life-changing experience? We service short-term, summer, semester, and year-long study abroad trips including college group travel and graduate group travel. Get a quote on your student group travel program now, or contact us for more information.


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