View into one of the lecture rooms

University Bologna, Italy

Blog Entry 2 – Tschüss Würzburg – Ciao Bologna

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 | Universität Bologna

Dear diary,

ciao Bologna, beautiful city. With almost my whole wardrobe and even more expectations in my luggage I finally arrived. Note: Not only in Würzburg the winter is cold and grey, no, also in Italy. To my disappointment, the city greeted me with wet and cold weather and cloudy skies. So “it never rains in Italy” is not quite right (at least in northern Italy). After my nine-hour train ride I first allowed myself a taxi to the apartment and arrived there completely exhausted. Ludovica, my new roommate, and her dachshund Sophie greeted me warmly and I immediately felt very comfortable in this beautiful apartment, which is located directly next to a park and quite central. Tired to death from the journey, the stress in Würzburg and the exam, which I had written the day before with a cold, I slept in my new 90 centimeter bed like a log.

The first day – Il primo giorno

I woke up. Where am I? A few sunbeams shining through the shutter woke me up and I realized I was in Bologna. My stomach reminded me that I hadn't eaten anything nutritious for many hours, so I decided to go grocery shopping.

Shopping in Italy, however, differs somewhat from shopping in Germany. First of all, you don't touch the vegetables in the vegetable department with your bare hand, but always with a plastic glove. Secondly, bananas, for example, are wrapped in plastic. Why?!? For me this makes little sense and is just another contribution to environmental pollution. At home I wash the fruit and vegetables before I eat them anyway. But well, that’s simply how the Italians do it. Since my last stay in Italy was more than four years ago, I first touched everything with my bare hands and got quite a few horrified looks ... oops. Another difference is that you can't just queue up at the meat or fish counter, you always have to take a number. So it came that I stood in front of the counter for ten minutes and asked myself how the other customers actually knew when they were next. After ten minutes of wasting my time I remembered that you have to take a number here. And then at the checkout I was shocked: food in Italy is so much more expensive than in Germany. I paid about twice as much as I pay in my home town at Aldi.

However, the Italian supermarket also has several advantages. There are so many foods here, which I have never seen in Germany and of course a huge selection of different types of pasta and cheese. Also the candy section leaves nothing to be desired. Moreover, one does not have to hurry at the checkout as for example at Aldi or Lidl in Germany and since I really don’t like hustling, the slow checkout is what I like best about grocery shopping in Italy. At home, packing the groceries at the checkout feels like you’re in a race. Here in Italy, it doesn't bother anyone if you take five minutes longer to pack all your groceries.

After I had successfully completed my grocery shopping, I wanted to make social contacts as quickly as possible. It's a strange feeling to be completely alone in an unknown city. Although you have many friends at home, you still feel lonely somehow. In order not to get homesick immediately, I quickly told myself that I was not the only one here who felt this way. All other Erasmus students are facing the same problem: Where and how can I find new friends here? Before I left I had written to an Austrian student who was also studying social work because I was so confused about the selection of the courses. I had seen her name in the Erasmus group on Facebook. Fortunately, we both had the oral audition for the language course on the same day and agreed to go there together. I was very happy that I already knew two people in Bologna, including my roommate. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. Tesi and I finally met at the "Due Torri". These two leaning towers in the center of Bologna are immense. They are incredibly crooked and on closer inspection one wonders why they haven’t collapsed yet. So with the help of Google-Maps I was on my way to the city center and was surprised that I found our meeting point right away. The sense of orientation is unfortunately not one of my strengths. Tesi and I saw each other, talked and luckily found out that we got along very well. I am incredibly happy to have found such a nice friend here in the first few days. The audition at the language center CLA (Centro Linguistico di Ateneo a Bologna) was not very spectacular. The teacher asked us to come into the classroom and we chatted a bit. I will be informed about the level of the language course within the next week and then I can enroll in the CLA internet portal. So, now the first weekend in Bologna is just around the corner. That means I have only three days off, because the university will start on Tuesday. I am already very excited!

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