Lucy shares the excitement and challenges that come with living and studying abroad…
Without a doubt, preparing to go on my year abroad was one of the most stressful periods of my life. I think this is mainly due to fear of the unknown, because you really don’t know what to expect before going. Nonetheless, I was incredibly excited to start my new adventure.
Preparing to head off
In the week before I went, I barely slept, I was coping fine in the day and was excited to move to Italy, but when I got into bed, my mind suddenly decided it would be a great time to think about all of the logistics.
I had shipped over my bags to Italy using Uni Baggage. With Uni Baggage you can get your bags picked up from your house and delivered to pretty much any location in the world (an amazing company, I would recommend using it to any student). I was worried however that my bags would get lost on the way, but luckily all three of my bags did arrive in Italy safely!
When I arrived
I didn’t know what to expect when I first arrived in Italy, but I was very happy from the moment I arrived at my apartment that I had booked through Erasmusu (another great site I would recommend looking at if you’re going on a year abroad). My bedroom was clean and modern and after a quick trip to IKEA and Tiger it was very homely.
Over the next week there were lots of things that I needed to sort out. If you are going to live in Italy you must get a codice fiscale, which serves as a type of identification. We also had to sign up at the university, collect our Erasmus cards etc etc. What I have learned is that in Italy it can be quite hard to get stuff done. Their opening hours seem to be more like a guidance rather than definitive.
The moral of the story is, if you go on a year abroad to Italy, don’t expect to get settled straight away because the culture is a bit more relaxed than it is in England. For the most part this is a positive – take into account the long, sociable lunches that Italians love to have, they really are amazing. However it is frustrating when you actually need to get something done!
I have started to make a small group of friends, but these are mainly other Erasmus students. In my experience, it has been difficult to make friends with Italian students because they already formed friendship groups with each other.
Another challenge has been living with people from other cultures. I live with a Spanish girl and an Argentinian girl. Both have never lived with other students before. I am a very clean person, but we all have different expectations of house cleanliness, which can make it difficult!
After being here for a month I am only just starting to become homesick. I really love it here and I am incredibly happy, but I am starting to miss a few home comforts, namely PG Tips, Dairy Milk and a Chinese takeaway! To try and battle this I am putting into practice the advice I wrote about in my blog post about homesickness.