Catherine Threlkeld: Thoughts on Urbino

Catherine Threlkeld

Catherine Threlkeld (Photo by Urbino 2011 Student Mojan Nourbakhsh)

Where to begin, Urbino? More than two weeks after I left, my head is now swirling with thoughts about my experiences there. Urbino was home for the four best weeks of my life. I learned so much about reporting, writing, videography and photography, and my cultural appreciation for that tiny Le Marche city broadened immensely.

This trip, or journey as Mattia would say, has consumed all of my money and has given me a nice pasta body. At times, it was infuriating, sweaty, painful, uncomfortable, stressful and exhausting. But, without a doubt, it was the most rewarding experience of my life.

I wish I had kept a diary every day while I was there, writing down what I learned in class and who I met that day. But I think I was too busy enjoying the cheap wine to have enough patience to journal. Now it’s far too late to
try to remember each day, hour by hour. And some of my best memories of Urbino couldn’t be captured by photos.

While in Italy, there were things I missed about the U.S. – like always having clean clothes, air conditioning, WiFi and ranch dressing, but I’d give it all back in a heartbeat to return to Urbino today.

I visited places acclaimed to be some of the most beautiful places in the world like Cinque Terre and Mykonos, or with the most important attractions like Rome and Athens. But no ancient building or rocky beach was as beautiful as life in Urbino’s piazza.

I’ve met travelers from across the globe – Australia, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, France, Great Britain, Spain and more. But nothing beats that crazy Italian spirit.

So thank you, Urbino, for changing my life. You gave me cultural appreciation of Italy. You gave me the Italian language, You gave me incredible new friends – Italian, American and even a few Canadians and Asians. You gave me a way to express life, through my photos and my writing.

I love in Italian that “ciao” means hello and goodbye. Because even when I said goodbye to Urbino and goodbye to my friends, saying “ciao” was not a permanent farewell. It was a promise to say hello again one day.



Read and see Catherine’s work on the The Urbino Project 2011 website.

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Students Say...

The Urbino Project has offered me more experience and knowledge than I could have ever dreamed of. I feel that I have become more adventurous, curious, and take charge because of this experience. The people who have helped me succeed on this trip have become lifelong friends and this town a beautiful sanctuary that I hope I will come back to in the future. The beautiful mountains take my breath away every time I see them and the adventures I have been on while exploring this town are good enough to tell to my future children. I wish I could take Urbino back with me, but I know it would be bigger than the 50lb suitcase limit the airlines allow. But no matter what, Urbino will always have a place in my heart.
by Katrina Delene, James Madison University, Urbino Project 2014