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University Bologna, Italy

Blog Entry 1 – Making Preparations –stressed and happy at the same time

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 | Universität Bologna

Dear diary,

Bologna, I'm coming! Soon my long-awaited semester abroad will finally begin. When I tell my friends or relatives that I will study one semester in Italy, their eyes start to glow. Italy - pizza, pasta and amore...the boot that makes us all think of holidays, sun, beach and the sea. Everybody loves Italy, not only because of the delicious food, the impressive sights or the variety of landscapes, no, also because of the people and their mentality. It is said that the Italians enjoy the "dolce vita" and take everything more calmly than their European neighbors. However, it wasn't quite clear to me that a semester abroad would involve so much organization - unbelievable! Besides writing my bachelor thesis, studying, my Italian course, finding a room in Italy, subletting my room in Germany and working, I try desperately to find time for myself again sometime, which in the meantime, however, turns out to be quite difficult.

After applying on the web portal "moveonline" and filling out various forms, I now have to sublet my room and complete the Learning Agreement, the latter was quite challenging. Since I will have already completed my bachelor thesis and all exams when I will be in Italy, I only need 2.5 credit points to finish my studies. I intentionally didn’t attend one of the compulsory optional modules in Germany so that I could attend it abroad. 2.5 CP sounds pretty relaxing, but due to Erasmus I need at least 15 CP to receive the money (250 Euro per month).The courses that I can take can be found on the website of the University of Bologna. However, it is incredibly chaotic. Neither in German nor in Italian do I understand where I can find the courses, when the courses start and whether they take place in the summer semester or not. I am confused! Maybe I should ask my new Italian roommate, because I found a room in Bologna!! I was really lucky to find a room in Bologna. I heard from friends who also spent a semester in Bologna that it was really difficult, because a lot of Erasmus students were looking for rooms and, like in German student cities, there was also a shortage there. In the "Erasmus Bologna Group 2016/2017" on Facebook, I recently saw a posting from a girl who was looking for a roommate and texted her immediately. And behold, the day before yesterday we had a "Skype date" and got along great. The funny thing is that she also studies social work. Yesterday she assured me that I will get the room which makes me incredibly happy. I really didn't think I would find a room so soon. The only catch is that the room including everything (electricity etc.) costs about 500 Euro per month. So after the semester abroad I will be completely broke. But well, the good thing is that I am in Bologna for half a year so I am more or less happy to pay this price. In any case, I am very pleased that I have a single room (una singola), that’s why the costs are so high. In Italy it is quite normal for students to stay in double rooms (una doppia). In Germany this is really unthinkable. For half a year that would have been fine for me, but in a single room you still have much more privacy. The apartment is located within the city walls, in the center, which is of course also great. I'm really curious how it will be to live together with an Italian girl.

 I think, to improve my Italian (currently I’m on level B1), a "coinquilina italiana" would be very helpflu. Due to my one-year stay abroad in Bolzano after graduating from high school, I can at least do some small talk in Italian. So talking about everyday things isn’t a problem for me. During the language course at the adult education center in Würzburg, which I have been attending for two years, I also improved my grammar. However, I am a little worried whether my Italian will be sufficient for the lectures at the university. We will see...I already see myself sitting in the lecture without understanding anything at all. Yesterday I found out that the semester in Italy starts already on 13.02.17, but my last exam is scheduled for the 8.02.17. The University of Bologna offers language courses for which you have to audition in the week from 6.02. to 10.02.17. Therefore, I will write the exam and get on the train to Bologna the very next day. On the one hand I can hardly wait for my semester abroad to start, on the other hand I have such a pile of work to do before I leave so that I would like to give up. Although, I know that when I finally arrive in Italy, all the stress will be gone and I can enjoy the "dolce vita".

A few personal details: I am Franca, 24 years old and I am studying social work (bachelor) at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt. I decided to go abroad for one semester (8th semester), more precisely to Italy, because I completed my voluntary social year in Bolzano in South Tyrol after graduating from high school and was already able to enjoy a little Dolce Vita. During this time I was so impressed by the country, the people and the language that I decided to do a semester abroad in Italy even before I started my studies.

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