Any regrets? Definitely not!

University of Reading student studying abroad in Italy for a Full Academic Year

Savvina is currently studying abroad at the Università Ca’ Foscari in Italy as part of her Henley Business School degree at Reading. Already half way through her year abroad, read on to find out what she’s been up to. 

It is difficult to believe that four months have already passed! Time goes so quickly and I feel like I haven’t experienced anything yet! This of course is not true! I have been to 10 different cities in Italy, including Rome, Milan and Florence. I have met so many people from all around the world such as Mexico, Brazil, Portugal, Russia and Germany.

First things first, I want to mention that the things I do here in Italy, I don’t get to do them in the UK or in Cyprus. This is an interesting fact, since I understood that when you feel that you will be in a place for just a few months, you want to do everything. Literally everything! Visit galleries, architecture events, theatre, cinema etc. I soon realised how little I know Reading, the city I study in the UK. So, my goal for next year is to get to know the city more!

Venice is one of the biggest cultural spots in Europe with lots of events to attend each month. Although I was never interested in art, I realised how many unique opportunities one can have to learn as much as possible and expand his knowledge. La Biennale di Venezia which is a European culture centre, organised a series of events including Time Space Existence and Contested Frontiers (Cyprus Pavilion). Moreover, Peggy Guggenheim Collection is among the most important museums in Italy for European and American art of the 20th century and it is located in Venice. I was also really impressed by the collection of Sigmar Polke in Palazzo Grassi.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Italy for a Full Academic Year

In addition to the above, I had the amazing opportunity to run a Marathon and I was so surprised by the organisation of the event and that is why I signed up for the same event on April. I was also excited to see few of the best Italian movies! The events were organised by ESN Venezia and it was an amazing opportunity to get to know the Italian culture and humour.

One of my favourite places in Italy is Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet. It is like being a part of a fairy tale. However, I cannot end this post without mentioning my trip to Florence and Pisa with two of my Portuguese friends. I also had the pleasure to celebrate my birthday in Florence too, which I will never forget!

Christmas in Venice is magical! We get to visit Trento market with ESN Venezia, which is one of the biggest Christmas markets in Italy. Moreover, regata dei Babbi Natale is an event which is hosted by Ca’ Foscari University each year on December and it is a unique competition among many Santa Clauses in boats along the Grand Canal.

One of the most frequent questions I get, is if I regret my choice of studying abroad for the whole year instead of for just one semester. The answer comes out so naturally the second after I hear the question: Definitely not! 

Savvina

Adjusting to the Italian way of life

University of Reading student studying abroad in Australia for a Full Academic Year.

 

Savvina is currently studying abroad at the Università Ca’ Foscari in Italy as part of her Henley Business School degree at Reading. Read on to find out how she’s adjusting to the Venetian transport, weather and Italian way of life.

When I landed in Venice, I felt shocked and excited at the same time. It was the strange feeling of the unknown and when I was in the aeroplane, I could not imagine that the adventures will start immediately as soon as I get here. First of all, it is a completely different world, with no cars, vaporetto stops instead of normal bus stops, different weather and of course different language.

Ca Foscari University organised a special Welcome Day for all international students, where they answered all of our questions regarding the Italian Academic System, but also general questions on housing, transportation etc. They provided us with university cards, guides and maps and introduced us to our buddies. A buddy is an Italian student of Ca Foscari, who is available anytime to contact and ask for any help and advice.

Luckily, I was one of the students who got to have a tour around Venice and of its islands as well, by attending the program called Ca Foscari Tour. Thus, Murano, Burano and Torcello are just few of the islands I visited on my first week in Venice. One of the most amazing experiences I had was when I got to visit the glass museum in Murano and had an exclusive show of how glass is made.   Moreover, our guides made sure we had typical Italian meals in traditional restaurants, so I definitely got the best possible taste of Venetian food.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Australia for a Full Academic Year.

Needless to say that Venice has one of the biggest ESN (Erasmus Student Network) communities in Europe. Therefore, events such as Treasure Hunt, International Dinner, many Karaoke Nights and even Kayak Days were listed on my calendar and I never missed any! Moreover, parties, fun quizzes and tours were all part of my first weeks here in Venice. The biggest event organised so far, was the trip to Rome, where we stayed for 2 nights and got the chance to visit Vatican. Apart from Rome, I have been to Padua, Trieste and Milan and many more will definitely come!

As long as academic issues are concerned, I have to say that the system here is much different from what I was used to in the UK. Several things are different, for example, the academic calendar. I tried to choose modules that I have never studied before in order to expand my knowledge and discover more modules that I may like. Furthermore, I have been taking Italian language classes as well in order to improve my Italian.

I have to admit that I needed just one month in Venice to get used to it, and understand how life is here. Surprisingly, I adapted quite quickly and I believe is because of the way Italians treat you, especially when you are not one of them. Their smiles, their temperament, even the way they look at you when you don’t understand a word they are saying in Italian helped me adjust right away!

Savvina