Today is the twentieth day in my new home in Bolzano. After three weeks, it is time for some reflection. In the period leading up to these months, everyone impressed upon me that an Erasmus exchange is the best semester of your study time. Endless parties, getting to know new people, sightseeing in new towns and a little studying in between. And all of this with financial support from the European Union. What more could a student want?
Although I can confirm that little of the above is an exaggeration, I also want to mention the more challenging aspects of an Erasmus. For me to take some of the pressure off, but also for others that are to embark upon an Erasmus this coming semester. An Erasmus in Italy is not just moonlight and Måneskin.
A week ago, I texted a good friend saying I felt I should be having more fun than I was having. I said I feel I am not getting everything possible out of the Erasmus. While I would sooner take a weekend off in Wageningen, I feel dissatisfied here if I fail to take a mountain hike during the last sunny weekend. My friend suggested I should take more time to find friends and a rhythm here.
Issues that affect me in Wageningen have travelled with me to Italy
There are multiple things I struggle with during these first few weeks. For example, the issues that affect me in Wageningen, such as procrastination, an irregular sleeping pattern and a million thoughts in my head, have travelled with me to Italy. I don’t find myself with an entirely different head on my shoulders here. Organising this period is also far from easy. Not to mention the administrative jungle. The level of my frustration at getting my courses sorted out and approved is often higher than the summits of the Dolomite mountains.
All in all, the Erasmus period is a period full of opportunities with the reality I have experienced so far. And when I have an off-day, I play Zitti E Buoni at top volume and crack open a bottle of rosé.
Oscar Delissen is a fourth-year Food Technology student. He is studying in Bolzano, Italy, for the next six months.