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A to Z of my time in Italy

21st January 2016

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Soon, I will be leaving Italy and Forli, which is where I have spent the first term of my year abroad studying and living.

I thought that now would be a great time to start reflecting on my time in Italy - even though it hasn't been the best experience of my life. I've been considering the best way to reflect, and this A to Z list of my time in Forli, and Italy in general, is the first way I am going to try...

A - Apartamento 18. The number of my apartment in Forli, in Via Bruni.

B - Bologna, the University of Bologna (the university I studied at), Bologna Airport - and just Bologna because it's the nearest main city to Forli. Bologna was also the first city in Italy I had ever been to, and it was a lovely city to see first.

C - Conad, my favourite supermarket in Forlì, because it’s cheap and it also sells familiar foods like Cheerios and Coco Pops.

D - Destination. My first year abroad destination is Italy, and it’s the first time I’ve been to Italy in my entire life. I will definitely visit again for holidays.

E - Erasmus. The Erasmus experience, the Erasmus grant. The Erasmus experience for me so far has been an eye-opener, and I have learnt a lot about myself - mainly that even though I was so scared to come to a new country, here I am now about leave and ready to start my next placement in Geneva.

F - Forli. Where I have lived and studied for three months. There are some lovely places in Forli, such as Pizzeria Sole where you can buy pizza slices for a really cheap price. And the parks - one park has lots of rabbits and another park has a pond with tortoises.

G - Grazie. The Italian for 'thank you' which is a word I have used a lot in Italy, as well as ‘non capisco’ - which means ‘I don’t understand’.

H - Hotel Internazionale. The hotel in Bologna where I stayed with my Mum when she came to visit me in Italy for the weekend. It was a great weekend because it was her first time in Italy and I was able to order meals in Italian for us both.

I - Italian... the language I've tried to improve, and the Italian experience and way of life. It’s not been easy at all, and I still have a lot of the language to learn.

J - "Just keep going" - the phrase I said to myself a lot when things got tough... which is okay because it’s a major thing to move your life abroad, so it’s okay to have days where you just want to watch British TV.

K - Keeping calm. The best thing to do when things get stressful. Take a deep breath and keep calm. 

L - La Vita Come'è, one of my favourite Italian songs, by Max Gazzé which was played again and again on the radio and I at first found annoying but now I can’t stop listening to.

M - Missing home, which I did quite a lot and I had to learn that it was a normal feeling to get homesick - but I also knew that I couldn’t give up because I’ll probably never get this opportunity again.

N - Never again. There are some things which I would never do again, such as living in Forli. I wouldn’t live in Forli because there’s not much to do or see so it can get really boring. I would live somewhere else in Bologna - maybe in Rimini because it’s by the beach.

O - Opposite apartment. The apartment opposite the apartment I live in is where the landlord's parents live and they helped us a lot, especially on the first day when they showed us how to use the washing machine.

P - Pesaro. A place I travelled to on the coast in November, and where I experienced my first Italian Christmas market - which was lovely because it helped me get into the festive spirit.

Q - Queue... Something the Italians don't do or don’t like doing.

R - Rimini... One of the first places I travelled to and it was beautiful, and a surprise to be having a picnic on the beach in warm sunshine in October.  

S - Studying. It's harder in Italy and definitely different to the UK. The class sizes are much bigger in Italy, for one thing. 

T - Translations. Lots of translations because I am studying translation. Many of my modules were about translation too.

U - UK. My home country, which I have grown to appreciate more - especially the familiarity of it and being able to go to a supermarket to buy pain killers for headaches rather than have to go into a pharmacy.

V - VENICE. I went to Venice when my mum came to visit. We’ve both wanted to go to Venice, so it was magical to be able to experience it for the first time with my mum, even though it rained all day. I also nearly dropped my iPhone in the canal…

W - Waiter... the waiter in Hotel Internazionale, who gave me and my mum free food each night and whom I tried to flirt with in Italian before he told me he was married.

X - EXciting opportunity... I know, it's not very original. But living in Italy has been an exciting opportunity and even though I wouldn’t necessarily live in Italy full time, I’ll never ever forget the experience.

Y - YES... I would recommend if you ever get the chance to study/work and live in Italy during your degree to say yes, because it’s an exciting opportunity and you’ll get the Erasmus grant to help you financially.

Z - Zzz... How I feel after a tiring day at university or travelling! 


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