Università Degli Studi di Padova
Before leaving to spend a year in Padua, I hadn’t thought much about what it would be like to be an Erasmus student or how to navigate an Italian University. It was only on my flight over that I started to feel nervous about having to speak Italian as soon as I got off the plane! There were some differences in the matriculation process (which took a little longer) but it was part of the overall experience!
However, I soon settled in, increasingly confident with my language skills and was looking forward to the rest of the year. Padua is a beautiful city and I had a great time practicing Italian over an ice-cream or a glass of Prosecco in one of the city’s many piazzas. The Erasmus Association was a fantastic organisation which planned everything from Karaoke nights to ski trips which were a great way to get to know the other international students. After such an amazing year, we were all extremely sad to leave but delighted to have mastered a foreign language, studied abroad and have a place to stay with friends all over Europe!
Eleanor (Italian & Spanish)
University of Verona
I found the University of Verona to be both enjoyable and challenging academically. This year has, on the whole, been fantastic. Not only did I live in one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, I have met many wonderful people, had the opportunity to travel, eaten a lot of amazing food, and enjoyed the outdoor lifestyle! My year abroad has been my favourite year of university so far because it has allowed me to experience a lifestyle which is completely different to St Andrews. You have to prepare yourself for hard work, but it is all worthwhile in the end.
Hannah (Modern Languages)
Attending lectures and sitting the exams in a foreign language may seem daunting concepts and often mean a lot of work. However, the difficulties are all part of the experience and the university option has great prospects in terms of enabling you to sample a new way of learning (with mostly oral exams and no coursework), lose yourself (or sometimes perhaps get lost!!) in the Italian system and improve your language skills.
Having learned Italian from beginners’ level at St Andrews, I can certainly say that the year accelerated my language acquisition, using and working in Italian more frequently and in more situations than I could ever imagine. Hearing about torture methods during the Venetian history course is one of the more memorable. My other foreign language was not neglected for the year as I completed modules for German too.
Being part of the university means you are within a student community and this can bring many benefits whilst settling into life in Italy. The Italian students are keen to find out who ‘the British-looking guy’ is who has suddenly appeared in their class and there is obviously no shortage of coffee places to visit with them or with fellow St Andrews students.
Verona itself is una città bella! Passing the Roman arena, River Adige or Juliet’s balcony, never failed to make me appreciate being a student for a year in a city that is chosen as a holiday destination. I, as would Shakespeare, certainly recommend Verona for a year abroad.
Christopher (Modern Languages)