Abby - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

B Arts
Semester 2, 2018
An unforgettable experience filled with colourful characters and adventures!

Academic experience

I studied a variety of subjects, including the Italian Mafia, Italian cinema, International Relations and European society. The most enjoyable aspects of the curriculum were its flexibility, allowing international students to travel as well as study and the range of subjects on offer that aren't available at my home institution. Since the international curriculum was designed for international students, there were no particular challenges worth mentioning, and the online enrolment process was rather easy to follow with regular email prompts from the university.

Personal experience

I met so many new friends from all corners of the globe. With them, I had many great adventures, such as exploring the mountains of Switzerland, the streets of Paris and the beer stalls of Oktoberfest. It was great being immersed in the Italian language, and the locals were more than willing to provide impromptu lessons. Above all, my exchange experience provided me with a unique opportunity to test and improve my travelling skills (quick decision making, confidence etc) whilst still having a great support network.

Accommodation

I lived in an off-campus apartment supplied by a student living service affiliated with the university. The convenience of living a short walk from the metro, as well as within walking distance of supermarkets and parks was the best aspect of my living arrangements. For those looking for accomodation, I'd recommend referring to the website uniplaces.com which provide a wide range of living options at discounted prices as well as options provided by the university.

Costs

The lump sum of my accomodation was approximately 3500 euros, with weekly food bills averaging 20 euros. A student metro card was 22 euros a month and an aperitif drink usually costed about 10 euros. For travelling, prices varied depending on the country. I'd recommend budgeting more than necessary in case any unexpected costs arise (especially regarding transport).

Challenge

The biggest challenge was establishing a routine. Being in a new, exciting environment encourages you to "treat yourself" more often than normal. And whilst it's good to enjoy new experiences, finding balance between study, travelling, social activities and exercise is an absolute must.

Professional Development

My quick decision-making skills, adaptability, team-working skills and independence have greatly improved thanks to my exchange experience.

Highlight

The highlight of my exchange was being able to jump on a train every weekend and travel to a whole new country. Europe has so much to offer and it's all there for the taking - no 22 hour flights required!

Top tips

My tops tips are: to say "yes" to more, even if it's outside your comfort zone, live in the moment and above all embrace the new culture - it will make your exchange all the more enjoyable.