Having just returned to Leeds after spending a year abroad in Italy as an Erasmus student, I am feeling like a fresher, what with having to readjust to life as a student in Leeds all over again. But unlike when I was actually a first year student, I am now more mature, confident and can speak a foreign language to an (almost) fluent level, and this is thanks to my year abroad in Italy. So to anyone considering a year abroad, let me convince you as to why choosing Italy as your destination would be one of the best decisions you could make.
Firstly, Italy is where you will find the greatest food in the world. As an Erasmus student in Perugia I was able to swap Lucky’s takeaway for high quality pizzas made using a traditional Neapolitan recipe that not only tasted better, but were surprisingly much more affordable than those in Leeds. Also, I discovered that 5 euros can buy you a glass of wine or a cocktail, with an unlimited buffet of typical Italian food. The Italians call this an aperitivo, and the aperitivo became my year abroad go-to meal when I was running low on cash but still wanted to eat something tasty.
Aside from the tempting food, Italy is a perfect year abroad choice as it is a country that has something to suit every traveller; beautiful mountains, gorgeous beaches and cities famed for their art and history. It is incredibly easy to travel around Italy, be it by bus, train, aeroplane or Vespa, making it is possible to see all the most impressive places such as Florence, Venice and Naples. Each city and region has a distinct style and atmosphere, with something interesting and exciting to offer, such as historical festivals, famous architecture and remarkable scenery.
But above all, choosing Italy as your year abroad destination would be a great choice mainly because of the people who live there. Whilst abroad, I encountered many Italians who were always so friendly and welcoming. I cannot recall how many times people invited me into their homes for dinner or to a local cafe for a coffee. Being an English Erasmus student in Italy means you will find friends quickly, as Italians seem to hold us Brits in high regard and often want to learn more about our values and traditions. Also, in nearly every University city, there are always many social activities available for Erasmus students such as pizza and pasta making, outdoor concerts and festivals which means you have more opportunities to make friends with Italians and also with other foreign students from all over the world.
Being back in Leeds now, I am content that I spent a year studying in one of the most interesting and culturally rich countries in the world. I would recommend every student thinking about a year abroad to consider Italy, if they want to experience a taste of la dolce vita.
Featured image from Hostel Rocket.