Students in one of the lecture rooms

University Bologna, Italy

Blog Entry 5 – Partying and Friendship

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 | Universität Bologna

Yes, it is true, Erasmus students spend most of their evenings in bars, on the piazza or in the club…at least at the beginning, when everything is new and you have to find your "role" in the still unknown city. As long as there are no exams, the university is of secondary importance. It seems to be much more important for all Erasmus students to make new contacts and go out among people, because those who stay at home could miss the chance to meet unknown people or even make new friends. You might think that partying at the beginning of an Erasmus stay is a must. On the one hand this all sounds quite exhausting (it really is! - and expensive, too), especially if you know that you have your friends at home, but on the other hand you really have to enjoy this phase, because in Germany there are obligations waiting for you, such as a part-time job, even more work to do for university or working life. But after six weeks of partying I first need a break and really don’t want to see anymore Aperol Spritz.

Strikingly, in the bars and clubs that are crowded with Erasmus students, there are rather few Italians. The nightlife district for foreign students is located on Via Zamboni in the city center, whereas the Italian bar districtr is a little further away from the Tue Torri on Via del Patrello. Somehow it's a pity that the two groups party separated from each other as I chose Italy because I wanted to get to know the country and the people. But it is also interesting to get in touch with people from all over the world. From Argentina, Brazil, North America to Turkey almost every nation is represented. But the largest group of Erasmus students in Bologna are Spanish, closely followed by German students. Establishing contact with Spaniards is rather difficult. Due to the large number of Spanish Erasmus students, they prefer to spend their stay among other Spaniards. In my opinion it is almost utopian to mingle with the Spanish group, even though I have even found a Spanish friend here. But this is perhaps only an exception. Even my Spanish friend says that the Spaniards would only hang out with other Spaniards. During the Erasmus semester, it also quickly becomes apparent that in a foreign country you tend to seek contact with people who speak the same language. Actually I shouldn't complain about the Spaniards here in Bologna, because also my girls come from the German-speaking area of Europe, one from Germany and three from Austria. Here I asked myself the question, why do we seek contact with people who speak the same language? My friends and I have discussed this question several times and have come to the conclusion that the reason is simply because you can express yourself best in your mother tongue. It is also more convenient to speak your mother tongue. Despite the similarities between Austria and Germany, we have already noticed a few differences, especially in the language. It has happened several times that an Austrian friend said something that we two German girls didn't understand or even laughed at. So Austrian friends are also something special after all and there is also an intercultural exchange between us.

To be honest, I haven't found real Italian friends yet. Sure, I meet my Italian roommate, with whom I go to university every day and her friends almost every day, but I honestly can’t tell yet, whether these are friendships for convenience or real friendships that will last even after my Erasmus semester. In any case, I am happy to have finally found my group of girls here and it is becoming more and more obvious to me that you can actually be happy anywhere in the world. You just have to have the right people around you.

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