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HOW YEAR ABROAD STUDENTS VIEW THEIR PLACEMENTS

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					PAST AND CURRENT FINALISTS‟ VIEWS ON THEIR PLACEMENTS
(2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09)

I was really scared to go to Rome for my year abroad. In the beginning I experienced a lot of
problems and stress connected with finding accommodation, finding myself in the system of
Italian university, Italian medical care and all the bureaucracy. However, after facing all the
initial difficulties I feel much more experienced, self-assured and stronger. I am really happy
to be in Italy and to have the opportunity to improve my Italian not only at university but also in
real life situations, and I can already observe my progress. The Erasmus Association at Roma
Tre university organises every week various activities for Erasmus students such as guided
tours around Rome, trips to other cities and parties. It is a wonderful chance to meet people
from all over the Europe and also to improve the Italian language.

Anna Stepnicka (Italian and Management Studies), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi
di Roma Tre, 2006-07

I attended the intensive CILTA language course before university started, which was very
useful as a basic overview of the language after the summer. However the most beneficial
thing for my language was living with Italians, so from day to day I spoke Italian with them
whilst building IKEA furniture and teaching them about Marmite.

I enjoyed my placement, and Bologna is an incredible city to be a student.

Anna Luxton (Italian and French), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Bologna, 2006-
07

Excellent, although learning anything depends entirely on self-motivation as there are no
course essays to write. The teaching standard is extremely good and lecturers are very
engaging. Students are all over the place, and all take their subjects as an interest rather than
a means to a degree, which is refreshing. Apart from that the social life is extremely lively.

Alex Tinsley (Italian and French), Erasmus student Università degli Studi di Bologna, 2006-07

Excellent – however, the overall working hours are exhausting and at the moment this is
proving very difficult.
I work 5 days a week from 9am – 7pm, at the moment I am living in Piacenza, which means
that in order to commute to Milan daily I have to catch a 6.30am train. I teach executives and
directors of Siemens and Samsung English, either as annual or semi-intensive courses, which
has enabled me to gain a job as an English teacher in a private English in central Milan. I
work very long hours and have to plan extensive lesson plans for all levels of the English
language, from complete beginners to almost fluent speakers. The work is very challenging
and quite stressful. I have to manage my time very carefully to ensure that I complete
everything. However, I feel it is one of the most valuable experiences of my life.
At the moment, I am currently looking for a place to live in Milan as the travelling is proving to
be more exhausting than I thought. I arrive home late each evening and have to complete my
work for the next day. I have to get up at 4.45am every morning. I had planned to enrol on a
language course but to date have not been able to due to the long hours I work. However, I
plan to dramatically reduce these hours so that I can fit in a language course.

Camilla Delmaestro (Italian), Work Placement at Executive Language Management, Milan,
2006-07




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Milan is a great city and Bocconi is a fantastic university. I am greatly enjoying my courses,
except maybe Math because of the different teaching style. However, the placement could be
improved by more guidance from the Corso Singolo Coordinator for details such as how to
use the library or enrolling for exams (I still do not understand how to use the library and have
asked 3 different librarians).
My Italian has greatly improved, especially my vocabulary. I feel much more fluent and feel
as though I can face a vaster range of conversation topics. I still have difficulty with grammar,
particularly the subjunctive and prepositions. I am not taking any Italian courses this
semester, but will be looking into taking one next semester. However, all of my courses are
taught in Italian and some require further reading in Italian. This has greatly helped my
reading comprehension and the speed at which I read. I also try to consistently take notes in
Italian, which as helped my writing.

Carolina Lane (Italian and Management Studies), Corso Singolo student at Università
Commerciale „Luigi Bocconi‟, Milano, 2006-07


I am very pleased with having chosen to study at Universita Bocconi as they have an
excellent selection of courses I can study. The courses may be rather difficult and quite a
challenge seeing as they are taught in Italian, but seeing as these are courses I‟m very
interested in, I feel very satisfied with my choices.
There is no formal supervision of the single courses students at Universita Bocconi. However,
the single courses co-ordinator in the admissions office, Hanna Lundgren, is very helpful and
always most willing to answer any questions the students may have.

Cecilie Lind (Italian and Management Studies), Corso Singolo student at Università
Commerciale „Luigi Bocconi‟, Milano, 2006-07


I feel that so far it has been an extremely beneficial semester. I have enjoyed studying at a
foreign institution and gaining an insight into the italian university system as well as forging
new friendships.
Both my conversational and writing skills are developing. In addition I feel I am becoming
more culturally aware having taken part in extra curricular activites such as dance and drama
groups; I have had the opportunity to practice my italian with a wide spectrum of native
speakers.
I believe my Italian language is improving, in particular my subject specific vocabulary and
feel I am able to communicate in a coherent manner. I will be attending an Italian language
course next semester and I hope that this will improve my knowledge of Italian grammar and
allow me to express myself using a wider variety of academic terms.

Emma Cavallito (Italian), Corso Singolo student at Università degli Studi di Torino, 2006-07


This placement has been invaluable to me, as it has enabled me to develop my interest in the
fashion industry, in which I hope to work once I graduate. I have really enjoyed living abroad
in a different culture and socialising with new people. Attending university rather than a work
placement has also given me the opportunity to travel to different cities in Italy and to take
part in social activities with other students.

Laura Partington (Italian and History of Art), Erasmus student at Politecnico di Milano, 2006-
07




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It is extremely interesting to be in Italy and to experience different country. I think it is
necessary to spend some time living in the country of the language one is studying to
understand its history and be able to soak in the culture.
In the beginning I have attended the intensive course of Italian organized by the language
centre at Roma Tre. I have improved my knowledge slightly as well as met some of the
Erasmus students. I have not taken the exam though. I intend to take the language course in
the next term and attempt the exam as part of my necessary exams in the second term. I
believe that with every day my skills like speaking and comprehension are improving. The fact
that I watch tv and read the newspaper every day has got a big influence on my acquisition of
language.
I have turned to the Erasmus Coordinator several times for help with various problems. Each
time he was most helpful. Italy in general has an extremely complicated bureaucratic system
and we were all in need of some guidance.

Magdalena Auron (Italian), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Roma Tre, 2006-07


Brilliant – In Bologna you get both excellent teaching AND a real choice of things to do when
outside class; music, travelling etc.
I‟ve only spoken to the Erasmus coordinator once but she was perfectly friendly and helpful. I
have gone to each of my professors‟ surgery hours at least once, which was the most useful
thing for me, as we were able to discuss the exams and any difficulties I might have
Spoken and Italian language is greatly developing, as is my ability to work out what is being
said in a short amount of time if I do not completely understand at first.

Sam Steddy (Italian and French), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Bologna, 2006-
07


The program in Rome is a good experience. The university offers comfortable learning
environment and fun interaction with other Erasmus students. Rome is also a fusion of
wonderful cultural opportunities. Also the Erasmus Association gives us a wide range of
cultural and social events.
Each Erasmus student has a personal tutor who provides help and advice, when asked, on
any matter, academic or personal. I received an advice on the choice of my modules and also
on methods of study. In addition, the academic staff is always ready to help if we have
problems with understanding the classes.
My degree programme consists of a series of lectures. Most lectures are taught in a relatively
large group. Smaller group teaching takes place in the translation class, which usually
provides for discussions. The lectures are two hours in length. Students are not expected to
prepare work in advance for the classes. However, for the translation class each of us is
required to do eight translation exercises before the exam.
The classes I am attending are clear and well summarised. The material is presented in direct
and logical manner and is usually supported by a wide range of examples, slides or
screenings.

Kamila Klosinska (Italian), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Roma Tre, 2006-07


I am really enjoying my year abroad and feel that both my Italian language and confidence
are improving quickly. I do however feel that the support and guidance to facilitate my entry to
the country and university was insufficient and I feel that university life in Rome lacks
structure and organisation and consequently makes it extremely difficult for foreign students.

Sarah Perkins (Italian and French), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Roma Tre,
2006-07



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I am very happy with the placement (although the lack of organization at the university is
always a sore point!).
I feel I have had great progress with the Italian language although I‟m quite rusty with my
passato remoto as there isn‟t really any cause to use it. Having to speak the language
everyday means I have gained confidence and am no longer hesitant to speak.

Adesope Martins (Italian and Linguistics) , Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Napoli
„L‟Orientale‟, 2006-07


My work placement has given me the chance to realize what it is I want to do with my life,
Media, without the interference of friends or family, I‟ll know that the decision I make here will
be entirely my own. Italy is a truly inspiring place. It has also made me more independent, and
able to communicate better.
I have not attended any courses, but my Italian is improving slowly but surely. Having to deal
with RAI international and speaking to them encourages me to communicate with them in
Italian. I always have my small grammar book in my handbag to make sure I‟m
communicating in Italian while being grammatically correct at the same time. The cinema here
is only in Italian and so that helps a lot in improving my Italian. Learning about Italian cuisine
helps me improve my vocabulary!

Kamelia Kamel (Italian), Work Placement, Kidco Services, Avezzano, 2006-07


Now I am reaching the end of my first semester of this Erasmus placement I believe that this
has been up until now, by far the most effective way of learning the Italian Language. This
placement has allowed me to fully immerse myself in day to day language and into the Italian
way of life to the point where it has eventually got me to think in Italian and to live like a typical
Italian would. Not to mention it is one of the most pleasurable ways to fully discover and
become a part of Italy‟s culture and population, at least for the time being. To befriend people
who will not only be beneficial for my fluency in the Italian Language (both written and
spoken) but will hopefully be a life long memory of my experience as an Erasmus student.

Tanya Ronnen (Italian), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Roma Tre, 2006-07


I FEEL MY ITALIAN LANGUAGE HAS IMPROVED GREATLY AND THIS IS MAINLY DUE
TO THE FACT THAT I FOUND ACCOMMODATION WITH NATIVE ITALIANS SO I
THEREFORE SPEAK ITALIAN AT HOME AND ALSO THROUGH ATTENDING LECTURES
TAUGHT IN ITALIAN.

I HAVE THOROUGHLY ENJOYED MY TIME IN BOLOGNA ESPECIALLY AS IT IS A SMALL
CITY BUT WITH VERY EASY CONNECTIONS TO OTHER ITALIAN CITIES SO
TRAVELLING IS BOTH CHEAP AND EASY. IT HAS ALSO BEEN FAIRLY EASY TO
IMPROVE MY ITALIAN LANGUAGE IN BOLOGNA AS MOST NATIVES DO NOT HAVE A
WIDE KNOWLEDGE OF ENGLISH SO OPPORTUNITIES TO SPEAK THE LANGUAGE
ARE VERY MUCH MAXIMISED.
Laura Greenan (Italian and French), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Bologna,
2006-07




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Generally, I think this University placement has been a very positive experience so far. I feel a
lot more confident speaking in Italian now. I also feel more independent since living in Rome
because I have had to deal with things on my own without help from family or friends so it has
encouraged me to be a lot more proactive. I have also learnt to adapt to a different way of life.
In general I feel that my spoken Italian has improved a lot since being in Rome as I now have
more opportunities to talk Italian with native speakers. I also feel that I have broadened my
vocabulary in Italian since attending the Lingua e traduzione inglese III course because we
were required to do translation homework every week and through this I have learnt many
new words in Italian.

Crystal Li (Italian), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Roma Tre, 2006-07)



All of my lectures at university are in Italian, as well as the courseworks and group works, so
at the beginning of the year I had difficulty following what was being said in lectures. Several
months later, however, I feel much more relaxed in class because I understand most of what
the lecturer is saying, and if I don‟t, I can always look it up when I‟m reading the course
manual. I didn‟t take any specific courses to improve my Italian but through the every day
interaction I feel that I‟m much more comfortable with the language.
The courses aren‟t easy and the fact they‟re in Italian makes them even more difficult but
Bocconi is a renowned university and I was prepared for this amount of work. I am glad I
chose Milan and if I had to do it all over again I wouldn‟t change my choices. I think that the
challenge will only prepare me for my final year in UCL and my future life.

Alexandra Bazdyreva, Corso Singolo student at Università Commerciale „Luigi Bocconi‟,
Milano, 2007-08



My competence has increased greatly though taking the language courses since my arrival in
March. This is particularly true for my spoken Italian. For this reason I am continuing the
course up until July, despite the fact that the timetable and number of hours have made it
difficult to attend other courses.
I am happy with my placement at the Universita‟ per Stranieri. As it is not a large university
class sizes are relatively small. The language courses are ideal for me as I began studying
Italian ab initio at UCL and am only spending one semester in Italy.

Rachel Chonka, Università per Stranieri di Siena, 2007-08


Very Very good, since the start I‟ve been trying to avoid German and English speaking
persons and made friends with many Italian speaking students, especially from the Faculty of
Laws (this particularly has to do with their sensational Mensa where we meet up every day for
Lunch). Furthermore, as noted above I have been attending Italian Translation courses which
helped me to improve my vocabulary. Another important part of improving my language skills
has been my daily reading of la Gazzetta dello Sport (incredibly important)
GREAT, best choice I could have made.

Ivo Theiss (Italian and Management), Erasmus student at Università di Roma Tre, 2007-08




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Excellent. I love Bologna and am thrilled to have been offered this opportunity to be abroad
for a whole year and to be totally immersed in the language and culture of completely
different country. There is nothing more satisfying then being able to interact with Italian
people who do not speak English and are eager to help you improve. It is a completely
different atmosphere and way of life to that of London, and the university system is also very
different. There is a lot more independence, and not as many people to help you, which works
in your favour because you always have to work things out for yourself…which I have found
to have greatly improve my spoken Italian
Massive improvement of spoken and written Italian. Learning more about the culture and
general functions of Italian life. Interacting with unknown persons and becoming more aware
of the differences between Italian and English living.

Rosanna Thomas (Italian), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Bologna, 2007-08


My overall opinion of the placement is positive. I very much like Bologna university as the
facilities available are very good and the standard of teaching seems to be high and I have
been quite lucky with my lecturers who are more than happy to help Erasmus students. The
city itself is also very welcoming of students. I have also greatly enjoyed my courses as they
have enabled me to further my love of literature as I have never studied contemporary Italian
literature before and although both my courses were focused on contemporary literature, they
both concentrated on very different aspects of contemporary literature with one course being
mainly focused on literature published only in the past couple of years which gave me a great
insight into the field of current italian literature.
I did not attend any language courses but I feel that my comprehension of italian has
improved a great deal with regard to better understanding both written and spoken italian.
Since I have chosen to only do literature courses I have a fair amount of reading to do in that I
have to read the set texts as well as the critical reading and I feel this has definitely helped to
improve my understanding of Italian academic writing. Also with the amount of reading I have
to do I am definitely building up a better and much wider vocabulary which is thanks to the
variety of books on my courses. However, having only done one piece of written work I feel
that my written italian is not progressing as quickly. Also as my classes are structured as
lectures there is little opportunity to improve my spoken Italian as the students‟ opinions are
not often asked of.

Erin Vickery (Italian and French), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Bologna, 2007-
08


Very satisfied in general, as the university of Roma 3 offers a large choice of interesting
courses in the linguistic and language area.
I am quite satisfied with my progress in Italian. The language course I attended in September
was very usefull as the other courses had not started yet. It was a good preparation for
university work. Living and sharing an appartment with italian native speakers helps a lot
improving the everyday life vocabulary and structures.

Marie Leguevaque (Italian and French, Erasmust student at Università degli Studi di Roma
Tre, 2007-08


I am very happy with my placement. I think Bologna is a great city to live for your year abroad,
as there are many students and it is well connected to other Italian cities, which can therefore
be visited easily. I find that being immersed in the Italian culture is not only improving my
Italian language, but also my understanding of the Italian lifestyle.
As stated above my Italian language is improving through the lectures I am attending at the
University, as well as simple hearing and speaking Italian on a daily basis. The courses I am
taking also require background reading, so that my vocabulary improves through this. In
addition to this I have taken a private Italian language course in a language school.




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Celina Langen (Italian and History of Art), Università degli Studi di Bologna, 2007-08


The placement was an excellent opportunity for me to research my dissertation and finally
understand what it means to work, live and study in Italy. I must say however that the impact
with Italian university was difficult and altogether the Roma3 experience wasn‟t radiant.
My Italian has become nearly my mother tongue.

Chiara Trincia (ESPS), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Roma Tre, 2007-08


I am very happy with my Erasmus experience in Bologna although as there is not much
pressure put on Italian and especially foreign students it is necessary to do personal reading
and grammar work to really improve one‟s language.
My comprehension and confidence has greatly improved due to every day usage of Italian. I
              st
attended the 1 lesson of the language course but found it tedious and basic.

Celia Shenouda (Italian and French), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Bologna,
2007-08


I am very happy with this placement. I am glad I chose to come to Rome as there is so much
to see and do here. I found it very useful having background knowledge before I came here
as it helped me understand what was asked of me as well as help me to settle in. There have
been many Erasmus trips which have been a fun experience and have allowed me to see
more of Rome and Italy.
I am currently living with two Italians hence I am constantly speaking Italian. I have been
reading texts (the newspaper “24 minuti”, magazines and further reading on topics related to
my courses.) I have been watching Italian television and have gone to the cinema.

Silvana D‟Imperio (Italian and Management Studies), Erasmus student at Università degli
Studi di Roma Tre, 2007-08)



I believe that it has been a great experience as I had a chance to get an insight in the real
business environment of the Italian company; I also saw how organised and how
disorganised it can be. However, it has been a really stressful time especially in the
beginning.
I attended 2 courses in Italian university (History of Modern Art and History of Contemporary
Art) and I think it really helped to improve my knowledge of the Italian culture and language.
The lectures and seminars were very intense and in the beginning it was difficult to follow the
lecture and in the same time to take the notes in Italian, but after a while I really felt the
improvement. What‟s more, I had to read numerous books about the history of art which
certainly improved my vocabulary. We also visited various galleries and museums of Italy as
part of the course.

Elina Eglite (Italian and Management Studies), work placement in Milan, 2007-08

I feel that I have progressed in Italian a great amount, especially in the first month or two.
However after a certain point I had the frustrating impression that I was stagnating, not being
able to exceed a certain level. I think the solution to this is reading. Moreover I have mostly
progressed in the day-to-day Italian language, even in Italian slang.
This placement was very fulfilling because not only have I progressed on a practical level (my
Italian language, for instance) but also on a personal level. The Erasmus experience is
character building, it gave me more confidence, it gave me the opportunity to be immersed in
a different culture, to meet and become friends with completely different people. It not only
helped me to open my eyes on a new culture but also on the cultures I already belong to. For



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example, after experiencing Italian university, I realise now how lucky I am to be in an English
university which, from my point of view, is more organised, equipped, etc.

Martin Caparrotta (Italian and Management Studies) , Erasmus student at Università di
Bologna, 2008-09

I have attended the Erasmus Italian language course every Thursday and feel it has helped
my language a great deal. It backs up the grammar work I do in my own time and gives me a
structure and goals to work towards. I live with four Italian girls which is also extremely
valuable and has offered me an insight into the ýoung' Italian not taught in my Erasmus
classes. This has also been important for the development of my accent as my housemates
are from various different regions and bring friends to the house so that I can hear the
variations in dialect and therefore learn to place and develop my own. My membership at the
Societa di Canottieri has also improved my Italian and encouraged me to have more
confidence in using my language with strangers, particularly those in positions of authority.

This placement has been invaluable and taught me an enormous amount about my
personality and the areas I need to improve in order to make my French placement
successful. I will be returning to Italy once my placement in Paris is finished as I feel attached
to the country and would like to visit a different region.

Katie Kenyon (Italian and French), Erasmus student at Università degli Studi di Firenze, 2008-
09


My Italian has definitely improved; I feel more in command of it now, and I think I‟ve finally
mastered the grammar rules that I had trouble with before. I signed up for a course at one of
the schools I work at, which was for foreigners learning Italian, but it was too simple, and the
higher level classes clashed with my work timetable. However, I have been watching films in
Italian, and talking to staff and a few new friends in Italian too.

I‟m really happy with my job as a British Council Comenius Assistant. It has definitely been
useful to me as I wanted the opportunity to change direction from what I did on the French
half of my Year Abroad (studied at university); and teaching/tutoring are possible short or
long-term career options for me. I like children, in general, and this has shown me that I can
work well with them, which I‟m happy about. Through the programme, I‟ve been able to meet
a few other girls from different countries, which means I haven‟t been without people of my
age group, even though I‟m not studying at university here. It can get tiring at times, but the
children‟s friendliness and excitement make it worth the effort. I do have to say though that I
think I‟ve been lucky to be placed in a large city and with such nice co-workers because some
of the other Assistants had different experiences.

Angela Ajibulu (Italian and French), Comenius Assistant in Rome, 2008-09


I am taking an Italian course at my residence, which consists of a 1and1/2 hour lesson and
self study and an essay a week. I also took the CILTA Italian language course in September
and took the exam successfully. There are quite a few Italians living in my residence so I am
surrounded by Italian all the time and am able to have conversations with them. I still struggle
with complex verb sentences and my vocabulary is still lacking, but I am trying to read more
and watch more TV programs and films in Italian.

I am having a really good time in Bologna. I feel this was the best choice for me both for my
Italian language and all round personal growth. I am really lucky to be here and to be staying
for a year.

Rebecca Kingston (Language & Culture), Erasmus student, Università di Bologna, 2008-09




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I feel my Italian language has improved greatly, especially in terms of everyday
communication. Although my use of grammar is not perfect and I still have problems using the
congiuntivo properly when I speak, I do feel much more confident to express myself and
interact with Italians even in complicated or unpleasant situations.
I attempted to take a course at the Centro linguistico ateneo, but the organisation was rather
poor and I was placed into a group that was not very advanced, and it was not possible to
change it, so I did not attend the classes in the end.

I think that this placement has been a great experience so far, and I have been enjoying to a
great extent living in a city about which I had learnt so much during the course of my studies.
Being a student of Italian and History of Art, I could not imagine any better place to be. I feel
that my year abroad is not only deepening my insight into Art History and Italian culture, but I
have also gained many unforgettable experiences, formed strong bonds with friends and have
enjoyed student life more than anywhere else.

Anna Povejsilova (Italian and History of Art), Erasmus student at Università di Firenze, 2008-
09

Although I did not attend the CILTA language course, I feel I have made improvements in my
spoken Italian, and have particularly noticed this in my day to day, more colloquial language,
which can only become natural by spending time in the country. Lecturers were of course a
great help, to be able to listen to an Italian speak for hours at a time, but also speaking to
people you meet at the university, whether Italian or not, generally people conversed in
Italian. Living with two Italians helped my greatly and also making an effort to go to the
cinema, theatre, exhibitions and travelling, which helps tremendously in learning new
vocabulary. I feel my written Italian has not improved quite as much as the only practise I
have is writing my notes at lectures which are not always without mistakes as I am writing
quickly whilst listening. Having said that I am pleased overall with my progress.

I am very happy with choosing Bologna university. As a student it is a fantastic place to learn
and study, meet people, travel around northern Italy and experience an authentic side of Italy.
I feel I have had a wonderful exposure to Italian way of life, the culture and society of that
region and found it a valuable experience. Erasmus features very strongly in Bologna and so
there are many organised events for students to meet each other and thus never a dull
moment. There is not however a divide between Erasmus and Italians, which I feel is
important, and am pleased I found a balance between the two.
I would thoroughly recommend Bologna to any student seeking a relaxed way of life in a
beautiful city which offers all things to all people and deserves its name of „citta‟ aperta!‟

Louise Evans (Italian and French), Erasmus student at Università di Bologna, 2008-09

Both my written and spoken Italian has improved, feeling more confident in both areas.
Classes have helped as well as interaction with locals and lecturers on a daily bases around
the city.

Is has been an excellent experience, extremely diverse from UCL in every sense. It has been
fantastic to live in Italy, as my degree was Italian it has always been a dream of mine. The
experience has been enriching on a personal and academic level.

Tiago Luduvig (Italian), Erasmus student at Università di Roma III, 2008-09


I am verry happy I chose Bologna, which is a very studenty city which I would not have gone
to as a tourist. It is very lively and very Italian despite the large number of international
students. Very good.

Aurelia Mason (German and Italian), Erasmus student at Università di Bologna, 2008-09



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I attempted to do a language course in November but it clashed with too many of my other
courses and so I did not attempt to do the same this term. However, I think I have
compensated for this with a large amount of reading and reading exercises that I do almost
daily.
At the end of last term I also pledged to do more writing and essays which I have so far
adhered to and this has helped greatly, due to the fact the exams are largely oral, I was
beginning to feel a bit out of practise with writing Italian but the prospect of written exam this
month, forced me to get back into practising it, and I am now beginning to feel just as
comfortable with my writing as the other language skills I have developed out here.

As I mentioned above, I really can feel the difference in my listening comprehension and
reading. A combination of making Italian friends and choosing good and interesting courses
has been a huge factor in improving these two skills.
Siena is wonderful city and offers a great deal through its history and community spirit.
Waking up to the march of a contrada is an unparalleled delight and I have found that since
February, it has taken on a completely different complexion; I found during the deepest of the
winter months that the dark, tall and foreboding architecture and narrow streets were quite
oppressive but since the sun has started to come out – from the middle of March onwards
really – Siena has come back to life. All the shops have reopened, Piazza del Campo is
buzzing all day every day and the contrade have begun Palio-fever again as they have
resumed their marches, where as in the depths of winter hardly anything was open and there
seemed to be hardly anyone about, which made for a bit a sombre scene – however the that
all changed in March and it became the vibrant and beautiful city that I found when I first
arrived in September. It is the polar opposite of London and although there is simply not as
much to do here, Florence is very close, but it is nice to come back to the walled city centre of
Siena. I would advise any students thinking of Siena to live as centrally to the centro storico
as is possible because the entirety of the events and hub of the city is the centre and I think
you‟d actually risk not having the veritable experience of Siena by living outside.

Hannah Powell (Italian), Erasmus student at Università per Stranieri di Siena, 2008-09


I spent many hours waiting outside the study of my Socrates Coordinator and I am yet to
meet him. The international office have been very helpful in answering any questions that I
have and the Erasmus point were very good at finding me accommodation and also helping
me with any bureaucracy or questions that I have had. The professors have also been very
helpful.
I have attended the Italian Language course this term that was very well taught as well as that
I spent the first month living with an Italian family, I feel like my progress is going well.
I have been very happy here in Naples so far even if the rain here has been torrential and in
Rome the Tiber has burst its banks. The teaching has been of a high quality and everything
has generally been well co-ordinated. It has been difficult at times to understand if a lecture is
going to take place or whether it has changed location but I have no complaints.

Michael Eagleton (Italian and Management Studies), Erasmus student at Università di Naoli
„L‟Orientale‟, 2008-09




At first, I was slightly hesitant to speak in Italian as I felt as if my oral lessons and self-study
had not prepared me enough. I quickly got over this and realised that once I relaxed, the more
I remembered and felt reassured. I now have a much wider range of vocabulary and am more
confident speaking. This is also in part due to the fact that I live with three other girls who are
all Italian and have no knowledge of English. My aural skills have improved greatly as a result
of watching the news, going to the cinema, listening to Italian music and generally speaking it
with my flatmates. I do intend to take a language course in the second semester to maintain
and improve my written Italian, and have signed up the Roma Tre tandem scheme: a program
which puts together two student and allows them to share and exchange language



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knowledge.
I am enjoying my time in Rome and while it is not as multicultural as London, it was probably
the best choice for me personally. I have taken advantage of the rich history of the city by
visiting many of the sites and museums (which sometimes offer free admission to arts
students) sampling the culinary delights and even watching the occasional football match at
the Stadio Olimpico.

Gloria Ogumbambo (Italian), Erasmus student at Università di Roma III, 2008-09


I was eligible for the Erasmus language course at the beginning of term, having taken an
online placement test, however I arrived a week after a second week of oral test and was
unable to attend the course. Despite this, I‟ve found that my comprehension has improved by
listening and reading Italian and the translation course is helpful into rendering my written
Italian more fluent.

Overall it was an pleasant placement. Having initially spent a semester in Paris where
everything was a lot more restricted, course wise, deadline wise re: course choices and
exams, I was somewhat surprised at the fact that Bologna had a much more relaxed and
easier system. For Erasmus students, there was no registration process for courses
whatsoever, the only prerequisite for exams was filling in an online piano di studio and
enrolling for exams a few weeks before the desired session.
It was nice that some of the courses only lasted half a semester, allowing for a change in the
second half. I really enjoyed the „storia d‟Italia contemporanea‟ course taught by
Professoressa Tarozzi and would recommend it to any future student who has enjoyed similar
modules taught at UCL.
Bologna is a lovely city with a great atmosphere and the good weather only made the
experience all the more enjoyable.

Francesca Verbini (Italian and French), Erasmus student at Università di Bologna, 2008-09


As well as the language course and translation course that I have attended this term I have
also been having regular meetings with my tandem, an Italian girl looking to improve her
English and so we meet at least once a week. I also practice speaking in Italian regularly with
the Italian friends I have made since I arrived here and I feel my spoken language and aural
skills have improved greatly since my arrival in Rome.
I feel it has been a really worthwhile experience. I‟ve hugely enjoyed my time here for many
different reasons from university life to the independence of living on your own in a foreign
country.

Sean McCaffrey (Italian), Erasmus student at University of Roma III, 2008-09

As a corso singolo student at Bologna, no staff was assigned to help with any queries we
may have about enroling for courses and/or exams. Staff in the segretaria of the faculty did
not seem willing to help with any small questions that we may have when enroling for exams
so all the information we have is second-hand from other Erasmus students.
I attended another course at the beginning of term (even though I had no intention of taking
the exam) which helped with my comphrension of Italian and being in an environment where
Italian is spoken constantly is an obvious benefit.
Overall, I enjoyed my time here in Bologna however as a corso singolo student, my time here
was very stressful trying to find accomodation, information about how the university works,
enroling for exams etc
I really enjoyed the variety of courses I picked as they were an insight into Italian teaching
methods and exams.
Francesca Sammarco (Italian and French), Corso Singolo student at Università di Bologna,



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2008-09




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