Blog Entry 4 – University in Italian
The first two weeks of uni have passed and I have to admit that I thought it would be easier somehow. Talking in Italian and studying in Italian are definitely two different things.
But first of all, here are some general facts about the University of Bologna: The Università di Bologna - Alma Mater studiorum is one of the oldest universities in Europe and was founded around 1088. Its faculties are spread all over the beautiful old town. So there is no campus like the one in Würzburg at the University am Hubland. You can find parts of the university in the whole city and almost everywhere you come across a faculty that is inside an impressive old building. I study at the Facoltà Scienze Politiche, which means Faculty of Political Science. There is no Faculty of Social Sciences as it exists at the FHWS. My faculty is located in a beautiful building in the middle of the old town. When you enter it, you might think you are in a museum instead of a university. The staircase is decorated with stone statues and the ceiling of the largest auditorium could also be the ceiling of a baroque church. In the first lecture I couldn't really concentrate because I was so stunned by the beauty of this university. Unbelievable!
In Italy, the Bachelor degree program in Social Work is called Servizio Sociale and includes three years. Here you don't count in semesters but in years. For example, if you are in your second semester in Germany, you are in your first year here. Although I am already in my 8th semester in Würzburg, I have taken two courses from the first year in Bologna. Among them are methods and techniques of social work and principles and basics of social work. I chose these courses mainly on the recommendation of my roommate, who is in the same degree program. In the beginning I was a little overwhelmed and didn’t know which courses to select and thus, I was glad to have a person at my side who is in the same program. But other Erasmus students had told me that I can change courses at the beginning of the semester and change the Learning Agreement. Therefore, you could theoretically choose the courses after your arrival in Bologna, which might be easier than choosing them far away in Germany. Besides Italian lectures, there are also many courses and seminars taught in English. Usually you have to take an intermediate exam in all your courses after about six weeks, and a final exam at the end of the semester. In addition, you also have to pass some oral exams. If you don't want to take an intermediate exam, you can also write one big exam at the end. However, this again depends on the lecturer and the seminars or courses you have selected. Several dates are available for the final examination. You can choose the date yourself. The lecture period here in Bologna is much shorter than at the FHWS. At the Faculty of Political Science, for example, lectures start in the middle of February and end at the beginning of May. However, this the lecture period differs in the different faculties. The lecture times are also a bit different. The first lectures start at nine in the morning and the last ones end at ten in the evening. The grading system is also completely different. Here, the best grade is 30 and the worst 18.
But now I will tell you why I thought it would be easier to attend courses taught in Italian. First of all, Italians don't just talk incredibly much, they also talk incredibly fast. The same goes for the lecturers. Secondly, Italian technical terms are not yet present in my vocabulary, which means that I have to look up about every fifth word. And thirdly, I can't look up all the words during the lecture because the lecturer is running a linguistic marathon. In summary, I can say that in the first lectures it was all Greek to me. I'm so happy that I only have to receive two credits point here and don't have to struggle with too much Italian literature. So I can only recommend to have a pretty good command of the language in advance if you want to attend several lectures in Italian and also write exams in this language. Of course I could have chosen English courses, because there are enough of them, but since I am here, I also want to study in Italian. That probably means: STUDYING STUDYING STUDYING.