First of all let me introduce myself. My name is Matt, my home city is Nottingham and I’m 20 years old.
“La dolce vita” are the first words which come to mind when thinking about my year abroad. It means “the sweet life” in Italian and the last 6 months of my life have certainly been that! I can certainly say that this been one whirlwind adventure.
I’ve had this year in Italy in the back of my mind since I first set foot in the Business School. One reason I chose this course was for that exact opportunity and 6 months on I can say that it has been the best decision I’ve made of my life!
August 29th was the start date of this adventure. I was bound for Turin! Keen eyed and raring to go I was ready to see what this north western city had in store for me. I left not knowing much about the city, only that it was the host city for the 2006 Winter Olympics, it was where the 1969 Italian Job was filmed (one of my all-time favourite films) and that it is the home of Fiat and Juventus. Furthermore, I was starting a new life in a country where I spoke very little of the language; ordering a cappuccino was just about as much as I could cope.
However, I wasn’t alone. Two of my classmates, Arthur and Scarlett, were also bound for Turin. So we had strength in numbers!
After arriving we had about a week to explore the city before we started university, at La Scuola di Amministrazione Aziendale. Being a private section of UNITO (Universitá degli Studi di Torino) it’s not as big as the Business School at the University of Brighton, but still good all the same. We got to meet all the other Erasmus students as well; about 40 of us in total. I was really excited to meet everyone and there was an amazing group of people spreading the globe: from Columbia, Chile and Canada to Germany, France, Spain and Poland! I knew it was going to be an interesting few months, with all these cultures coming together to socialise and party (and obviously do some learning along the way). Along with the Erasmus student there were also 70 American students taking part in their equivalent of the Erasmus programme, USAC. So in the end there was a great bunch of international students, and many of them have become very good friends! Later that day we started our intensive Italian course. This involved a 3 hour Italian lesson every day for the first couple of weeks. It most certainly was intense, but it was incredibly helpful and set me on my way to passing the beginners’ level.
My first trip was the weekend after the first few days of uni. A few of the Italian students organised a trip to a local wine festival in a city called Asti, about 40 minutes outside of Turin. It was my first proper cultural experience in Italy and it was like something I’ve never experienced before. All the local wine producers come together each year and sell their wine with some of their homemade food for around €4. But first thing you must do upon arrival is buy a cup for €0.50 which comes in a lanyard. So from there you walk around with a cup, hanging from your neck, trying as much wine and food as possible. It was a great experience. I had high hopes for the rest of my year abroad if it was this good in the first weekend!