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.
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!