How real is social life abroad? - Erasmus experience so far - Perugia day trip

9:00 AM

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First of all, I must confess that I'm not your regular Erasmus student (not even your regular 23-year-old girl). I prefer visiting museums and taking pictures instead of getting drunk every single day of the week. I prefer having a beer on a terrace chatting, that standing binge drinking in the middle of the night freezing outside. I'm living for a year far away from home being very grateful of my parents and family, who are helping me a lot economically and making such a huge effort for me to stay living in Italy; and with my own effort and the little savings I made this Summer as an intern on an architecture studio. Not that anyone who's not doing that is weird, or a worse person, or anything like that. But first I wanted to make everything clear about the situation.

That said, I wanted to clear out some misconceptions about social life when you're on an Erasmus, and share with you my experience so far living in a country where I barely speak the language (I'm slow but steady in my Italian lessons), but which culture I love and appreciate every single day I spend here, always trying to fit in and get to know something about the Italian way of life while dealing with countless people who are here on an exchange program as well. Not that the time I've spent living in Firenze has been bad, nothing but that. It's only that I don't think I'm living what we'd call a "regular" abroad year, or at least, nothing like the ones my friends lived. In this post, I'll explain why.

#1 The locals
What I've noticed so far is that, even if you try speaking Italian and you manage to say a few phrases even going further than just a "Ciao, buona sera, come stai?", they are friendly but not very interested in you. I'm talking specifically about people at Uni, where of course we exchange students are a daily constant but, I don't know, it feels like when at my home University back in Spain, we would always be very interested about the exchange student sitting at the very end of the class. We would always go speak to them, or try to include them into work groups for assignments or just talk to them if they're a bit isolated.

But here is like, NOTHING. If you ever talk to them, they answer nicely and politely, but that's it. The conversation is finished. If you are isolated at the corner of the corridor having your lunch doing nothing, no one comes even to ask you how you are doing. I don't know if it's because I'm from Spain and that automatically makes extra-socialization to be on my genes (and I'm not the most talkative and smiley kind of girl, I must say). I just don't know what's wrong with them... Or me.

#2 The other Erasmus/international students
As I said at the beginning of this post, I don't usually enjoy doing the things people my age in Spain usually do. Although sometimes I have my party-animal side when I'm at the comfort zone around friends, I prefer calmer activities and I'm very concerned about how many of the family savings my parents are sending me to live a year full of experiences. Every single penny counts, and although I don't starve and I still grab a couple of meals outside every week or even go out for a drink once in a while, if I can put aside a tiny amount of money every month, I do.

On the other side, most of the international students I've met during my almost two months here (which happen to be 90% Spanish, duh) only meet after midnight EVERY-SINGLE-DAY on the same two spots of the city (really? Isn't there a city full of marvelous places and squares to meet out there?) to binge drinking and just do nothing during daylight because they've a hangover. If I'd wanted to party every single day this year, I would have stayed in Spain. I assure you I've never seen a party like an Spanish one in no other part of the world. And way cheaper!

#3 Daily duties
Now I'm able to understand a little better my mum when she's all day complaining about dust and fluff forming in my room. I still can't figure out how it's possible to sweep and mop the floor twice a week and still, deal with fluff big as bunnies the minute after cleaning everything up. I manage quite worthily with laundry and meal prep, I must say. But grocery shopping is something I never thought could be so painful. How is it possible to get through the week when you just have three apples and 1kg pasta pack on the fridge?

#4 REAL University duties
Nothing comes for free in life, so, I knew before coming here that those four horrible subjects from my University I wanted to validate here wouldn't be easy as pie. I must confess it feels a bit easier than at home, doing almost the same assignment I would do by my own in Spain while here we work in pairs or team but still, there's a lot of work to do.

In fact, when I'm not sweeping (cruel, true daily life of the student living on her own) or strolling around (which is almost 50% of my time) I'm working with my colleague on the massive assignment we'll be delivering in January, always sketching and drawing and cleaning floor plans and rendering. Because let's face it: I wouldn't want to come home without those subjects in particular passed!

#5 Day trips and international students associations
And finally, after this poor and boring monologue about the struggles of the average Erasmus student who doesn't like dust bunnies in her room, you'd be wondering... OK. What about associations where you can meet other students and people willing to make international friends, and be happy altogether and so on?

Well. Nothing of that exists, or at least, not at the association where I enrolled, in which by destiny enrolled the 99% of all the Spanish Erasmus students that I can't stand. Yes, day trips to places like this one we took to Perugia are quite nice but I just feel like I prefer going on my own, or with a bunch of nice people and not belonging to a huge group of other hundred students which, let's face, it's quite the task to organize and move around at the same time.


... And this is all the thinking I did during our bus trip to the Eurochocolate fair in Perugia and which I felt I needed to share with you guys. So...

Have you ever felt as I do when traveling abroad? Is it me turning nuts about the whole situation? Do you also have weekly battles with dust balls big as bunnies? Do tell me in the comment box!

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I was wearing:

Zara black jeggings
The Monster booties
Pedro del Hierro pullover
Louis Vuitton scarf
Nike backpack

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About Amanda

About [span]me[/span]

Hi! I'm Amanda, from Valencia (Spain).

I like all things vintage and classy. I study Architecture and I'm an epée fencer.



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