Walking on Water: Studying Abroad in Venice

by Kathryn Blanco / Jan 22, 2014 / 0 comments

Walking on Water, by Eleanor Goodall, is a novel following the story of a college girl spending a semester in Venice with other students from around the world. Through her interactions and experiences, the reader is taken on a journey in Venice through the eyes of a newcomer eager to learn and equipped with a sense of adventure.


Walking on Water is a good choice for somebody looking for a light read with information about Venice. It seems to be geared particularly towards young women. Perfect for taking on a trip, reading in anticipation of one, or reading for post-travel nostalgic purposes, Walking on Water describes Venice vividly as well as providing history and travel tips.


Walking on Water - a novel about studying abroad in Venice


It’s not exactly fine literature – but neither is it meant to be. At times the dialogue can seem forced and the protagonist’s stream of consciousness can be obsessive. The reader doesn’t need to know all that the character is thinking to herself, and attempts to chock lots of information about Venice into the character’s conversations make some of them sound awkward. Ultimately, though, it is interesting to see how the characters get along, and the imagery paints a vivid picture.  


The book does not necessarily work as a guidebook. The actions of the protagonist are not practical for most people. Although a student, the protagonist clearly comes from a family with money and seems to be enjoying a fairly light work load since this semester for her is about immersing herself in the Italian culture. However, there is a benefit to that – an ability to see what Venice has to offer without too tight of a budget or time constraint to limit the experience.


Another part of the story is watching the character prepare for “real world” experience, where she will not be sheltered by family, while debating what she wants to do with her life – settle down, or wander the globe? Have a career, or have a family? Have a job she loves, or one that will keep her in the style of living that she is accustomed to? Is it possible to have all of these? These are important questions for people of any age to ask themselves.

This book would be particularly good for a reluctant young traveler. But even though I love travel, I found myself wanting to spend a semester abroad more than I already did. Readers who have not visited Venice will be intrigued, and those who have will enjoy reminiscing about the good, the bad, and the beautiful in this fanciful city on water.





Kathryn Blanco is the Disney Editor for Wandering Educators