Madrid is a city of great cultural and political importance. It is one of the liveliest capital cities in Europe and boasts some of the finest art museums in the world. Its location in central Spain makes it a good starting point for any trip to other Spanish cities such as Cordova, Seville, Barcelona, or Valencia or to neighboring countries like France or Portugal. There are many buses and trains that connect Madrid with these destinations and beyond. Morocco is also within easy reach, located just across the Strait of Gibraltar. The capital is a melting pot for all regions of Spain, and, more recently, for other cultures, yet it has maintained its own well-defined character. The city offers a wide variety of entertainment for people of all ages and cultural interests, as well as a wide variety of sports. Madrid has a modern infrastructure, but has successfully preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighborhoods and streets. The result is in a cohesive blend of old and new: cobblestone streets and monumental architecture, parks, and plazas, alongside modern architecture and public art. Hence, the city is home to both ancient buildings and modern skyscrapers designed by world-renowned architects. In the same fashion, you may eat in a new gourmet restaurant or a century-old café. The local public transportation system, mainly composed of buses and a subway, makes any part of the large city easily accessible. You are encouraged to embrace and become a part of Madrid’s culture and meet local people. Without a doubt, spending the summer, semester, or year in Madrid will be the experience of a lifetime.
Unnamed Road, Mount Abundance QLD 4455, Australia
Melbourne, Geelong and Warrnambool are all in the state of Victoria. Victoria is Australia’s smallest mainland state but has the second largest population, with approximately 5.2 million people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. It is a place of great contrasts—ocean beaches and mountain ranges, deserts and forests, volcanic plains and vast sheep and wheat farms. Victoria has national parks and forests teeming with wildlife; wineries, lakes and mountains offering climbing, hiking and skiing and the magnificent Great Ocean Road coastline, Australia’s premier surfing destination. The state has long been regarded as the cultural center of Australia, with a historic architectural elegance that characterizes the capital, Melbourne, and the regional cities. Victorians combine a strong cultural tradition with a contemporary and relaxed lifestyle, a distinct sense of community and a passionate interest in sports. Victoria also is the major center of education and research in Australia.
Viterbo is a medieval city with a lively university community and active art scene. It is about one and a half hours from Rome and three hours from Florence, with easy connections to the Mediterranean and mountain regions. Viterbo residents have retained the charm and leisurely quality of life of days gone by. They still retain, for the most part, the tradition of closing from 1 pm to 4 pm in order to enjoy a relaxing lunch at home with the family. Each Saturday, there is an outdoor market in the main piazza where people browse and shop for clothes and houseware items. Fresh produce from local farms is also sold every morning in outdoor markets around town. Viterbo has kept a fascinating historical record of its past better than almost any place in Italy. Protected by a medieval wall, Viterbo’s fountains, palaces, quarters, and churches all exemplify its glorious and eventful heritage of art and culture. The San Pellegrino quarter is certainly the most characteristic and best preserved medieval quarter in Italy, a jewel of a thirteenth-century contrada with its small squares, houses, narrow lanes, arches, and characteristic profferli—the typical external stairs of the medieval houses of Viterbo. The thirteenth-century papal palace is evidence of Viterbo’s significant role as a place of refuge for medieval popes, and more recently as the film location for Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. Viterbo cuisine is some of the best in Italy thanks to the city's green surroundings, zero pollution, and the "art" of entertaining. Two local dishes not to miss are Lombrichelli alla viterbese and Acquacotta. Be sure to visit the Sagra festivals throughout the summer where one can sample pasta, gnocchi, and more.