My experience started in January when the sun sets early and temperatures are still frigid. I arrived at Hull with a few volunteers that help foreign students to settle in, and on that day I met some of the people that became part of my group of friends. Raluca, one of the volunteers, said: “Welcome! This is going to be your new home in the next few months!” We were at the corner between Beverly Road and Cottingham. I peeped out from my window seat to look at the bright signs of the stores: the architecture is so different from the Italian one.
The campus appeared huge to me: too many offices and departments. “I’m going to get lost” I kept thinking in my first days. Now I can walk across the campus with my eyes closed. Oh no, I want to keep my eyes open! I want to look at everything, I don’t want to forget a thing, not even a detail. This is my semester abroad, my international life, my experience! Everything has to be unforgettable!
I arrived home only a couple of days ago and the months spent in Hull already seem a far memory. A few hours of flight catapulted into my old world, Genoa, that welcomed me with a terrible sultry weather. I was no longer used to it.
Until the very last moments I strongly hugged my room mates and my friends that surprisingly knocked at my door for a final farewell. We promised to see each other again in the future, and with some of them plans are made: we will meet in the next few weeks during their lucky Eurotrip. It’s awesome to visit people that have shared such an incredible Erasmus experience with me.
Spending six months away from home were fundamental for my friends. Some left their home countries for the first time; some discovered a totally new European reality, quite different from the American one; some fought stereotypes; some got the chance to meet international students for the first time; some decided to keep living in the UK; some other learnt a few words in a new language, history and other countries’ lifestyle.
All these experiences are priceless!
This Erasmus has been very important for me as well: I lived abroad for the second time and I learnt a lot about the British lifestyle (their culture is very different from mine, apart from the obvious commonplace).
I travelled, I tasted new food and I met people from Australia, the States, Brazil and Europe. I improved my English, trying to strive for the best. I got a few satisfactions such as compliments from native speakers and being able to distinguish accent that before meant absolutely nothing to my hearing. I opened my eyes on the situation outside Italy, for better and for worse. I also had a look on the job situation regarding my field of study.
The time spent in England flew too rapidly. I hadn’t been able to realise all the points I had on my wishlist before leaving Italy. My will to learn is endless. I often regret to have spent just a semester over there rather than the whole academic year. I would have taken more advantage of all the resources available and I wish I had done more to improve my skills. However, I have to admit that I came home with an extremely enriched cultural baggage. After every departure and every return I feel more and more a lively and motivated “citizen of the world”.
I don’t know what the future has planned for me. What job? In which country? Will I be back in England? Who knows. What I’m sure of is what won’t miss in my life: the charm of being constantly in touch with foreigners, everyone carrying their own story.