The experience of Elsa and Philipp, two incoming Erasmus students in our university
by Michele Calamaio / Translated by Alessia Silvestrin
Articolo comparso nella sezione “Ateneo” del nº 46 di Pass Magazine
“Once Erasmus, forever Erasmus”. Last June the European Commission celebrated the 30th anniversary of European Erasmus+ Project. For the occasion, they launched a new app for smartphones and planned meetings and lectures all over Europe. Pass Magazine takes part in the celebration as well, as we frequently report on the personal experience of our classmates from Verona abroad. However, this time we are going to change perspective: we will understand how does it feel being an incoming student who has to deal with a new language, a new place, but who, at the end, will believe that an “Erasmus experience is something that you cannot tell; you have to go through it”
As we would like to better comprehend this “cultural perspective”, we interviewed two Erasmus students who left from their homeland in order to go in search of Italian culture and to try a different educative system at university. They are Philipp Zambelli from Germany and Elsa Angélica Canedo Valdés from Mexico.
How is university life in your homeland?
P: «Universität Bayreuth, in my home city, is a small university but nonetheless it offers a great deal of opportunities: it’s a student-friendly campus, and the departments are all included in a single, circular cluster. So it is easy for students to meet and socialize».
E: «My everyday life as student in Mexico is wonderful. I wake up early (lectures start at 7.00 a.m) but it’s not a problem, because I love seeing the sea so close, it makes the landscape even more fascinating. In spite of its small dimension, Universidad Veracruzana, in the city of Veracruz, is surrounded by nature, which gives a different perspective to this small Mexican city».
Did you have any particular expectation before coming to Verona? How did you figure out this experience would be?
P: «I admit I was afraid at the beginning. New language, new people, different habits. But then I started to attend courses at CLA, which helped me to improve, and getting to know my classmates helped as well; it made everything easier. Now I breathe a pleasant atmosphere of solidarity; I couldn’t ask for more».
E: «I didn’t have a precise idea at the beginning, but there was something I was sure about: this was going to be the best experience of my life. I was enthusiastic to see the classical and ancient style of the buildings, and I couldn’t wait to meet my new classmates, because I wanted to discover the wonders of cultural differences».
Are you willing to do another Erasmus Exchange in the future? Would you ever recommend Verona as destination?
P: «Verona is a beautiful city, I can’t wait to go back home just to tell my friends how beautiful it is. Perhaps I will come here again in the future, if I decide to apply for a doctoral degree. But I will think carefully about it».
E: «I would like to invite everyone to do an Erasmus in Verona for many reasons: it is a strategic place if you want to travel, it’s rich in history and art, and you can walk around safely at any time. Furthermore, there are so many Erasmus student here that you will learn something about other cultures besides the Italian one; all together we create a beautiful melting pot. I will surely do an Erasmus exchange again, if I have the chance, because…
Erasmus experience is something that you cannot tell; you have to go through it.
Photo by Andrea Pistillo.