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An Italian Erasmus retells his experience of Lancaster…
I think that Lancaster is beautiful, as a town and as a University. I feel it when I go running along the Canal. I feel like Lancaster is a little heaven in Northern England. Ok, it is a little heaven with bad food, disgusting coffee and with horrible weather, but I still love it. Unlike in Italy, the country where I am from, students have much more time for themselves and social activities, they have time to practice more sports and spend more time with friends. The amount of work, at least as regards to Law, is not as heavy as in Italy. I remember how weird I found it when I discovered that there is not only one huge book to study from (at my University it is normal for students to have only one book, even if different books are suggested). Here teachers give you loads of books and, at the end of lectures, they invite students to go to the Library and to ‘enjoy your readings’!
Again, unlike in Italy, students feel like real protagonists of the University system. You can see that teachers follow you, they bet on you, and take care of your work. Another astonishing thing is the kind of relationship you have with them. They are friendly and always available. At the beginning it was very difficult to accept this! My experience was different from that of other Erasmus and International students in that my strategy was that of not socializing with other Italians, even if they might have thought I was antisocial. Otherwise, I thought, how could I ever improve my English? My level of English was much lower than it is now because (specifically in Southern Italy) we have Italian natives who teach English, and TV channels dub films into Italian, unlike some other countries where they only use subtitles. At the beginning, when I met English people, and especially girls, it was impossible to try to improve my English because they always told me that they loved my Italian accent. They begged me not to lose it; and maybe they were right!
I don’t live on campus, but on Chancellor’s wharf, with my great friends from Norway, Poland and England. The group of friends that I have here in Lancaster is wonderful, and they treat me as a member of their family. I have lots of friends from lots of countries and of course when I go home, I will think about them. Living here has been amazing, I have never seen anything like what happens in Lancaster and its clubs on Saturdays (but also Fridays and Wednesdays!). Now I can’t wait for the ‘summer’ here, and the World Cup of course, seeing as it will be the second consecutive victory of Italy!