Study Abroad at Home: Induction Week

Siobhan was meant to be starting her life-changing year abroad in Venice, Italy. However, much like many others the pandemic has meant that her year abroad will now begin in the UK! Each week Siobhan will be discussing her unusual year abroad experience and offering advice and tips for others along the way.

When I envisioned my study abroad induction week, I didn’t imagine I’d be doing it from my bedroom in Newcastle with a cuppa next to me.  I thought I’d be going round the streets of Venice on the back of a vespa, eating and drinking my weight in pasta and wine. Whilst I type this I feel the  urge to state I do believe ‘things happen for a reason’, and maybe Venice wasn’t quite ready for me yet, but I feel hopeful in the fact that by the beginning of next year I will be writing this in a much warmer climate. So, if you could all manifest this for me, I’d be grateful.

As you may have guessed I’m now a third-year student who was meant to begin my year abroad in Venice this month. Unfortunately, as we are still in the midst of a pandemic both universities have postponed mine and many other students’ departures. On the bright side I was lucky enough to choose a university that remained hopeful in the thought that I will eventually go. Therefore, this week, although not what I’d first anticipated, was still a new adventure even if it was from the comfort of my own bed.

‘Virtual cooking class’ Credit: Country Living Magazine

The last two weeks have been filled with activities for international students to partake in at their leisure, and although I’m biased Ca’Foscari Universita Venize have pulled out all the stops to try and immerse us in Italian student life.  From a cooking class to a culture quiz they really uplifted the situation which I appreciated. I feel that even though sometimes our clear visions of what we want can be clouded by life, if we stand in the rain and wait for the storm to pass sunshine is never too far off, especially in Europe.

I want to stress that second year students should not be too put off a study abroad year. Although its slightly different to other years my year abroad is off to a great start. I’ve been offered multiple modules that suit both parts of my History and English Literature degree, which also incorporate the Italian culture. I’m taking a module in Italian culture, literature and the history of Venice.  Classes are on Moodle (a website similar to Zoom) and are recorded. The University have also offered free beginner’s Italian classes so by the time I get there I should hopefully be able to communicate the basics.

This week has by no means been normal or straightforward, but with a hopeful outlook, determination and a little bit of resilience, I’m now looking forward to seeing how my year abroad pans out. Ciao for now!

Header Image Credit: Condé Nast Traveler