Tschüss Tübingen!

University of Reading student studying abroad in Switzerland for a Semester

Angelina is studying abroad at the University of Tubingen with her German and International Relations degree at Reading. Her semester abroad has come to an end, so we catch up to see what she has been up to!

The saying ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’ is so relevant when you’re on your year abroad. My semester in Tübingen is already over and it still feels like it was yesterday when I arrived at my halls with two big bags in tow. Now my room is empty and my flat has been cleaned and then it finally hits, that this time I’m leaving and not coming back.

Unlike the British three term system most German universities follow a two semester system, Winter and Summer. At the end of each Semester students in Germany get around two months off, one starts in August and the other starts in February. This is often the time where many students spend time writing essays as well as travelling. February in Tübingen is exam season just like in Reading the library was very full. Here to be able take part in an exam you have to register for it online which is very different from exams in Reading as well as this during my exams there were no invigilators but this might be different depending on what course you take.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Switzerland for a Semester

During my semester here one of my modules was a German film seminar. In this seminar we watched a wide range of different Germans throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century. After we had all finished our exams for our last film the lecturer had arranged for us to watch a film in one of the small independent cinemas in Tübingen. The cinema itself was very different to the big commercial cinemas that exist, small, quaint and quite old fashioned and was connected to a little bar where we could buy drinks to take with us into the cinema, it was a really nice experience especially for our last class together.

When you go on a study abroad, it is really worth it to try and fill your weekends with lots of different things and to see lots of different places. On one of my weekends I met up with some friends from Reading who are also on a year abroad in Germany. We met up in Düsseldorf which is in the Rhineland region of Germany where one of my friends was studying. Düsseldorf was also a really nice place to visit and we spent the day catching up and eating German food. A lot of German cities have notable television towers but not all of them are accessible to the public. Fortunately the one in Düsseldorf is, so we went to the top and the views were amazing. At the very top of the television tower there is a restaurant where we had ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’ (coffee and cake) which is kind of like the German equivalent of a cream tea. What was really special about the restaurant was that whilst you were sitting down the restaurant actually slowly spun around so within an hour you had seen 360 views from the tower. That was something that I’d never experienced before.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Switzerland for a Semester

University of Reading student studying abroad in Switzerland for a Semester

Some of the other places that I have recently visited which are a bit closer to Tübingen is a small town called Bönnigheim. Bönnigheim is a wine producing town and it was unusual for me to see all the vineyards covered in snow because you don’t really associate vineyards with colder climates. Talking of colder climates I finally made it to the German mountains and Neuschwanstein Castle which had been on my bucket list for quite some time. Neuschwanstein Castle looks like it is straight out of a fairytale but unfortunately the bridge to the side of the mountain where most of the famous pictures are taken was closed because it was too icy. Not too far away from Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Bavaria is Germany’s highest peak which you can reach by a cable car that goes all the way to the top, as expected the views were incredible and made up for the freezing temperatures. Definitely a good place if you happen to be a skier.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Switzerland for a Semester

And with that I’m on the train leaving, thanks for having me Tübingen, it’s been a pleasure. Till next time.

Angelina

Missed Angelina’s last post? Catch up here: https://blogs.reading.ac.uk/reading-abroad/2017/01/14/already-half-way-through/

 

 

Just the start of Studying Abroad in Denmark

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

Lewis has just moved to Denmark to start his study abroad Semester at Aarhus University as part of his English Language and Literature degree at Reading. Just a week or so in, read on to find out how he’s getting on!

Aarhus has recently been declared the cultural capital of Europe, and this is evident in the mass portrayal and acceptance of many different countries cuisine. This is apparent in the Aarhus “street food” market which contains all different types of food, ranging from ‘Jamaican Jerk Chicken’, ‘Mexican Burritos’, ‘Chinese Duck’, curries and French Crepes. This is a really wide variety of food that shows the wealth of culture present in Aarhus. But to top off this creativity the whole market is built inside an un-used bus station. The stalls themselves are built and set up inside old ship yard containers. This means the theme of the Aarhus “street food” market is to not only re-cycle but to re-use old things and provide back for the public. The food as well was really cheap about 30 krona which exchanges to roughly £3.00. This makes it an ideal place for a student to grab a quick and easy lunch and when you are done, you have to wipe your own table with the disinfectant and towels dotted around the seating area.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

This is me outside my house in Denmark, the houses here have a cottage feel as they are small and are packed with essentials from the university such as pans, plates, cutlery to chopping boards and cups. I did not need to buy anything apart from food as it was all provided by the University! It’s not as cold as you think it is here, all though many will disagree but if you come prepared like I did by bringing a thermal coat, hat and scarf you can easily survive the cold weather. There are many nationalities that come to Aarhus to study but in my house I have 2 Canadians, one Australian and one American. So the university put me with fellow English speaker which made it easier to talk and joke with each other.

My lectures at the university were not what I was expecting. I thought I would be in a class of all international students, and this belief was further enforced by the fact my lecture was in English, so I assumed the class of 24 students in my literature course had different nationalities and they were learning in the common language of English. So when I got put in a group I asked them if they were German as I heard them speaking to each other. They looked at me shocked and one of them said “no, we are Danish”. I was, and still am, shocked to learn that I was in a Danish majority English Literature class, with only 4 other international students. The fact the students were all conversing with the lecturer in English for an English literature module shows the high level of language skills many of the Danish actually possess.

This is a short blog of my time so far in Denmark, I have only been here for one week but I have already learnt so much about the culture of Denmark and its history. I expect I will learn much more in my weeks to come.

Lewis

Whirlwind end to Study Abroad

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

Ellis is studied abroad at Aarhus University in Denmark as part of his Psychology degree at Reading. Although Christmas seems a long time ago already, he looks back on the end of his semester abroad. 

My last month of studying abroad has been a whirlwind; as I approach the end of term and the holiday season, I’ve been overwhelmed by an array of social and academic activities.

Christmas seemed to start early in Denmark, with the holiday season being marked by the release of the Christmas beer (which happens on the first day of November). From this point onwards, you could see the arrival of the Christmas market and can expect to receive invitations to traditional Danish Christmas dinners. I had no idea what to expect from a traditional Christmas dinner, all I was told is to bring my own dish and expect to get very drunk… At these dinners, there was an array of different foods: meatballs, pickled cabbage, fish, potatoes and breads, to name a few. For desert, it was a kind of rice pudding with a twist – in the large bowl of pudding was a single, whole almond. Whoever found the almond first would win a prize, but the only way to find the almond was to eat all the rice pudding. Everyone was desperately polishing of their plates and asking for another, keen to find this sacred almond – it was rather amusing! Another key feature of this tradition was ‘Schnapps’. This is a strong alcohol that everyone shots throughout the evening; by the end of the dinner everyone feels so bloated and drunk. But alas, the evening is not complete without playing different games and dancing off all the calories that have been consumed earlier. To sum it up, it was a fulfilling (mentally and physically) tradition, with plenty of laughter and some great company – which can only be described as ‘hygge’.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

As December arrived and the end of term approached, I was set all my university assignments. For each of my three classes I was required to write a 3000 word essay based on the material covered throughout the term. What I liked about these assignments was that the subject of the essay was relatively flexible – you could choose to write about whatever interested you most that term.  This is something which I hadn’t previously been able to do in my degree, and I really liked this as it allowed you to develop your own interest further and come up with original and creative ideas.

Although the end of term was a lot of fun, I was hit by one of the hardest things about studying abroad: saying goodbye. Over the past 4 months I had met the most amazing people and had unforgettable experiences that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Facing reality and leaving it all behind was emotional. I knew that my friends were all going back to different parts of the world and that I wouldn’t be able to see them again as easily as just hoping on the number 13 bus. However, I found solace in the quote: ‘don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened’.

Ellis

Missed Ellis’ first blog post? Catch up here: http://bit.ly/2jzJBF1

Learning Danish on the Football Pitch

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

Simon is studied abroad at Aarhus University in Denmark as part of his Psychology degree at Reading. It’s been a while since his semester abroad ended at Christmas, but here’s his final blog post from his study abroad experience. 

The 18th of November started much the same as any other day; I woke up, had breakfast and brushed my teeth. I sat down, opened up my laptop and ping an email arrived from Study Abroad with the subject, ‘Coming to an end’. Time had flown by and this email began the long goodbye.

The next few weeks were full of work, goodbyes, Christmas celebrations and promises to stay in touch. A particular highlight was the Julefrokost (Christmas party) with my football team. One of the first things I did when I arrived in Aarhus was to sign up for the university football team. I knew this would be a great opportunity to meet lots of people and get a closer insight into Danish life. It was everything I’d hoped for. Almost everyone on my team was Danish, there were only two international students including me! This meant that everyone spoke Danish all the time. It was difficult at first, although they would easily translate for me. However, by the end of my stay I could (pretty much) understand what was being discussed in the tactics and knew basic phrases to use during games. I was trying to learn Danish in class, but I’m sure I picked up more of the language on the football pitch!

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

At the end of the season we had a Julefrokost, which is a traditional Danish Christmas party. This consists of an extremely long meal and copious amounts of schnapps (one of the worst drinks I’ve tried).  It was brilliant and incredibly Danish. The first dish consisted of pickled herring, curry salad and of course rye bread. Each person had to stand up, give a speech and then afterwards everyone had a shot of schnapps. Bearing in mind that there were 30 people at this event it’s safe to say my memory blurs towards the end of the night. The overriding feeling at the end of the night was a sense of friendship and gratitude that they had welcomed me into their traditions so readily.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

More Christmas parties and more goodbyes followed. This was interspersed with the need to try and do some work to make my deadlines. Aarhus is a beautiful city in general; around Christmas it becomes even more alive, draped in Christmas trees and lights. I tried to fit in all the sights before I left, saw my first Handball game and celebrated the Danish Queen. Then, the last week came around. This was a difficult week, as each day another friend would leave for a different country. I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to study in Aarhus and meet so many different people. I would encourage anyone if they get the chance to study abroad to take it. I now feel that I have contacts all throughout the world that I hope to make use of at some point!

Simon

Missed Simon’s last blog post? Catch up here: http://bit.ly/2klUzum

The Academic & Travel side of Denmark

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

Ellis studied abroad at Aarhus University in Denmark as part of his Psychology degree at Reading. Mid-way through his semester abroad he updated us on all his adventures abroad. 

2 months in and I am fully settled into my new life in Denmark, and feel I have got to grips with the secret of the Danes perpetual happiness (the key being a good work-life balance). My experiences so far continue to surpass my expectations, and leave me feeling enriched both academically and socially.

With regards to academic side of studying abroad, I have adapted well – I now know what to except from a Danish University, and conversely what is expected of me as an exchange student. Student-led seminars are a significant part of the curriculum, with students being expected to prepare interactive presentations for the rest of the class based on set readings. This style of teaching fosters critical insight, initiative and independence – a skill which I have developed more rapidly under these circumstances. Needless to say, the content of the seminars are also very interesting – studying abroad in Denmark has allowed me to study modules outside of what would normally be offered in Reading, e.g. I am studying modules in interdisciplinary perspectives on digital culture, social aspects of memory, and moral psychology. What I like most about the academic style in Denmark is that there is the opportunity to steer the direction of learning according to each individuals personal interests. End of term assessments consist of three nine-page essays (one per module), with the content of the essay being entirely up to the individual, as long as it’s related to the overall theme of the module (of course it needs to be approved beforehand by a teacher, but there is great flexibility).

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

As well as being engrossed in my studies, I have also had time to explore Denmark and a neighbouring Scandinavian country. During the half-term break, my friends and I spent 5 days visiting Stockholm and Malmö in Sweden. We spent a lot of time doing the usual tourist-orientated activities: sightseeing, visiting galleries, trying different cuisine, shopping, sampling the nightlife. Both cities we visited were spectacular, and had rich cultural and historical backgrounds. The only downside was that there wasn’t nearly enough time to do everything we wanted! However, I still thoroughly enjoyed myself and would recommend to anyone who is looking for a vibrant city break.

To conclude, studying abroad in Denmark has opened doors to a range of different opportunities which I would never have been able to do had I stayed in Reading. I often remind myself how glad I am that I took advantage of this opportunity.

Ellis

Missed Ellis’ first blog post? Catch up here: http://bit.ly/2jzJBF1

Celebrating Saint Lucia or otherwise known as Saint Lucy

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

Lucy is half way through her year studying abroad in Uppsala University in Sweden as part of his Law degree at Reading! Read on to find out what she has been up to after her first semester abroad!

I’m over halfway through my Study Abroad experience and I can’t believe how fast it’s going! Since my last blog I’ve been trying to make the most of what a Scandinavian Winter has to offer me. This of course included gingerbread (on which they put blue cheese-something I’ve found weirdly yummy) and copious amounts of Swedish mulled wine called Glögg (which I’ve found I prefer as it is sweeter than most of the English mulled wines I have tried). I have also spent my time trying to acclimatise to the dramatic drop in temperature, this we had all been warned about-especially since when we arrived in August we had a highly unusual month of lovely warm weather and the Swedes had ominously claimed that this meant we had a bitter winter to come to compensate.

In early November I, along with two friends travelled to Bergen in Norway for a weekend trip, eager to expand our experience of the Scandinavian nations. We arrived on Friday and I was immediately struck by the mountains dotted about everywhere while we bussed from the airport to our hotel. Once we arrived in Bergen and settled in we decided to wander down to the Bergen port-recognisable for Bryggen (a series of commercial buildings leftover from when the Hanseatic League traded in fish-a fact we became aware of when we went to the museum housed in one of these buildings). We wanted to get our bearings for the following day when we would be going on a tour of the fjords (the principal reason we had travelled there).That night we made use of our time by going up the mountain on a cable car-giving us a breath-taking view of Bergen. The following day we got to the boat early and I experienced one of the best moments of my life travelling through the fjords and seeing the gorgeous views, we even got to drink water from a frozen waterfall. The rest of the trip passed by quite happily.

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

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the 13th December is dedicated to Saint Lucia, otherwise known as Saint Lucy, this led to lots of jokes and the lighting of many candles as it is a festival of light. The elected ‘Saint Lucia’ wears a long white gown, has a wreath of battery powered candles on her head and is accompanied by her attendants carrying candles (also in white), their procession enters a darkened room singing traditional songs. It’s a unique and lovely tradition and I was thrilled that it was included in the Luccegasque that I attended as a Christmas celebration at my nation.

I was also lucky enough to attend a Christmas Carol concert in Uppsala’s beautiful cathedral, a hair raising experience in the best way.

Since coming back from the Christmas break I have been trying to get through my work and cope with the cold, I luckily missed the -20 degree weather that plagued Uppsala the week before I returned!

I’m loving my time here and am looking forward to the coming term!

Lucy

Missed Lucy’s last blog post? Catch up here: http://bit.ly/2jGl9gl 

Discovering aebleskiver and final goodbyes!

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

Mona studied abroad at Aarhus University in Denmark with her Psychology degree at Reading! After 4 months abroad she returned to Reading in January and this post looks back on the end of her semester abroad. 

After the best 4 months on my semester abroad in Aarhus, Denmark, I am now back in England and back at University. I have settled into my lovely new home and am looking forward to completing my degree within the next 2 terms and getting a real job! Even though my semester abroad in Aarhus is over, it will play a great role in my future. I have already been to a job interview and mentioned it which played out as a great talking point and really got them interested in what I did there and what I learnt.

The last few weeks at Aarhus consisted of visiting all the places we hadn’t yet visited, visiting all the places we enjoyed gain and sadly, a lot of goodbyes. As I left Aarhus in December, it was looking especially festive at the time. The main high street had been endowed with over half a million Christmas lights and one of the main department stores was covered in Christmas lights and had been wrapped up as a present with a giant bow! There were several different small Christmas markets dotted around the city centre, selling roasted almonds that filled the streets with a sweet Christmassy smell, handmade gifts and lots of little Danish Christmas decorations. It was very cute. To add to the Christmas feel, a couple of friends and I headed over to Copenhagen for a spontaneous visit to go to the Christmas markets! There were several markets, many of which were selling the traditional, and delicious Danish dessert, Aebleskiver. These are traditional Danish pancakes that taste a bit like a doughnut and are served with icing sugar and jam. They’re delicious!

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

While I visited many cities and countries on my semester abroad, I will always consider Aarhus my favourite place. I learnt a great deal on my semester abroad including developing my independence further, learning about and adapting to living in a new culture, and learnt a lot about high taxes! I also made some amazing and lifelong friends from countries all over the world and would encourage anyone who is considering studying abroad, to just go for it! I remember I was a bit hesitant at the beginning and couldn’t decide whether to go or not but I can’t be any happier with my decision. It has been the best 4 months of my life and the best experience so far. For anyone considering studying at Aarhus University I would definitely do it. The university is very highly ranked within Denmark and for me, had a wonderful psychology department and a very interesting program. The city centre is small but there are always things going on, there are very cheap links to Copenhagen and the neighbouring Scandinavian countries and it is no doubt, very cosy and hygge. I loved it! Thank you study abroad!

University of Reading student studying abroad in Denmark for a Semester

Mona

Missed Mona’s last post? Catch up here: http://bit.ly/2jvAEbB

Friends from every continent!

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

Josef is currently studying abroad at the University of Tubingen with hisHenley Business School degree at Reading. Read on to find out what he’s been up to mid-way through his year abroad.

It barely feels like two minutes since I had just arrived and was writing my first blog post. Erasmus so far really is flying by and I’m sure it will continue to do so. Since the last time of writing the main difference is the weather, which has gone from t-shirt weather in mid October to near constant freezing temperatures and a lot of snow. Thankfully I missed the coldest period of weather over Christmas when it dropped to -13 causing the River Neckar, which runs directly through the middle of Tübingen, to freeze completely over.

Whilst being here, I have been attempting to make the most of the fact travelling around Europe is so easy, partly helped by friends from all corners of the globe wanting to make the most of their time in Europe by travelling around and dragging us Europeans with them. We had a weekend in Munich (only 3 hours by coach) which involved a lot of walking before deciding to go to one of the cities many beer halls, before moving on and settling in a quieter bar followed by a night out. Also I have had many trips to the city of Essen to visit family and be fed like a king by a Nan who thinks students don’t eat, not that I’m complaining. Although these trips did mean I missed out on weekends away in Paris, Hamburg, Switzerland and hiking in the Black Forest (being a city kid, I was quite glad I missed out on the hiking though). Last weekend, we visited Strasbourg for the day, just over the French border from Germany and only took around two and a half hours and 10 euros by train (a much quicker train is possible, but it is almost twice the price of my flights back to the UK). We did all the usual sights in Strasbourg such as the Cathedral and European Parliament, before getting the train back and getting ready for a friend’s birthday night out. There’s already a couple of future trips planned such as Berlin, Aarhus in Denmark and hopefully Italy to visit some fellow UoR Erasmus students.

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

In front of the Strasbourg Cathedral (left) and around the EU parliament in Strasbourg (right)

On the work front, lectures continue to tick over and I still can’t get used to the 8am lectures. Another big difference with uni over here is the term structure which I’m still finding a little bit odd. The winter semester here goes from mid October to mid February with exams at the end of February and just two short weeks off for Christmas. After exams have finished in February, I will be off until mid April when the summer semester begins, which then runs to August. Having the whole of March off does somewhat make up for the very short Christmas holiday and gives me a chance to go home to visit family and friends as well hopefully giving me a chance to get down to Reading as well. The work aspect is a big part of being here in Tübingen and getting a German perspective on my course is fascinating and I’m sure will prove beneficial by the time final year comes around or even, dare I say it, the world of work that comes after. But by far and a way the biggest thing I have taken out of my time here so far is the social aspect and it is the same for just about every exchange student I know or have met. Having friends from every continent around the world isn’t just interesting, it also means I will have somewhere to stay should I ever visit Australia, China, Russia, etc. Nights out also prove to be interesting as well as funny, as all the different cultures surrounding nights out clash like the Russians genuine hate for beer but love of spirits; the Danes’ love for drinking songs; and the Australians and Kiwis drinking from shoes (this really is as grim as it sounds).

As exam season begins to approach here, the whole uni seems to be slowing down a little and preparing, so roll on the end of February when exams are out the way and then roll on mid April and the start of the summer semester.

Josef

 

Already half way through!

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

Angelina is currently studying abroad at the University of Tubingen with her German and International Relations degree at Reading. Find out about what she’s been up to before the festive period. 

I can’t quite believe that I am over half way through my semester here in Tübingen!

Lectures and seminars have been going well although sometimes they are quite challenging, as a languages student all my lectures and seminars are in German. As with many other things lectures here are also a bit different to lectures in Reading. All of my lectures and seminars are at least two hours long and the earliest time a class can start is 08:00 mornings and one of my classes even finishes at 20:00 in the evening which took some time getting used to. One of the nice things about studying here is that I have no compulsory modules and I could choose modules on subjects that I am interested in. At the end of a lecture or seminar it is common for students to knock their knuckles on the desks which I found really bizarre.

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

Probably one of the best things about studying in Germany during the Autumn/Winter semester is that Germany is probably one of the best countries to experience during the festive season. As soon as late November hit all anyone could talk about was the ‘Weihnachtsmarkt’, or Christmas market in English. Almost every German town will host a Christmas market of some sort and in Germany especially in the bigger cities they go all out. Christmas decorations and impressive light displays everywhere, lots of stalls and wooden huts selling crafts and German Christmas foods such a roasted sugared almonds, ‘Lebkuchen’ (gingerbread), sausages and of course it wouldn’t be a Christmas market without ‘Glühwein’ (mulled wine). In late November, early December for one week Tübingen is home to Germany’s largest chocolate festival. Chocolatiers and chocolate companies from around the world and Germany present their products and quite a few stalls even offer free samples. I was even able to take part in a chocolate workshop where I could make my own chocolate.  As well as the chocolate market, Waldenbuch a town nearby has a chocolate factory too. If you really like chocolate Tübingen is a great place to spend study abroad. Another town about a 40 minutes train journey away from Tübingen called Esslingen has a really unique Christmas market. The Christmas market has a medieval theme and it is presented really well with fire dancing shows, people dressed up in medieval clothing and they served mulled wine and beer in clay cups. If you end up studying here next year I would definitely recommend it.

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

Since my last blog post I have also had the opportunity to visit some of Germany’s larger cities, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Munich. Tübingen is well connected to the rest of Germany by train via Stuttgart. It is also relatively inexpensive to travel by bus to various cities in and around Germany. Even though the temperatures can drop quite a bit around this time, all the festivities make it worth it and if your wrap up warm it’s really not too bad. At the moment it’s currently snowing here and the town looks even prettier under a white blanket.

Angelina

Missed Angelina’s first blog post? Catch up here: http://bit.ly/2ig8lgl 

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