An experience I will never forget

Written by Darcey Stonecliffe

For my second year of university, I studied at Universit√† Ca’ Foscari Venezia, which is in Venice, Italy. Although the first few weeks were rough with settling in and sorting out immigration protocol, it was an experience I will never forget.

Making friends was tough in the beginning, not knowing much Italian and still trying to grasp a new university system; however, they soon came and surprisingly, most of them were international students too, so they were a great support to me.

Studying abroad allowed me to experience a new culture and meet people from all over the world, along with having the chance to learn and study in a completely different system. I am proud of the friends I made; most of them are international students studying full-time in Venice, so along with learning about their cultures, they were able to support me as we all had a common understanding of being away from home. I am also proud of the academic results that I was able to achieve whilst also enjoying life outside of university. I feel as though I am able to independently adapt to new systems and I have also become more confident in many ways, such as making friends and taking responsibility for my own learning and academic experience.

One thing I would mention about the university system that I thought was much better was the exam periods. You could sit each exam during 3 periods in the year, meaning if you didn’t feel ready for the exam or if you had a lot to do in one session, you could delay it until the next. This made the experience less stressful, and I felt like I performed much better under these conditions (and re-sits are free!).

Italy as a whole is a beautiful country full of culture, food and natural beauty. Apart from studying, I got to explore Venice and travel around some of Italy, including Bologna, Padua, Verona, Milan, Rome and several lakes and beaches along the Italian-Austrian border, such as Lago di Braies. Receiving Turing Scheme funding made it possible for me to not only pay for my rent and expenses whilst in Venice, but also to travel around Italy without the stress of running out of money. Along with government loans this extra funding was a nice reassurance to me, and made sure I didn’t skip out on things that I would not get the chance to do again, and I am truly grateful.

My advice to future study abroad participants would be to do as much research on what you will require before you leave your home country. It is much less stressful to come fully prepared than it is to try to solve small problems when you are moving to a new place. These small inconveniences seem overwhelming at the time. Ask as many people as you can these questions as there is a lot of conflicting information out there!


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