International mobility – something that you can and should experience
During fall semester 2018-2019 I studied at the University of Bologne, Italy. It turned out to be one of the most exciting and memorable periods of my life both in terms of the study process and cultural exchange. More details are below.
What I expected most from the programme was to develop knowledge and skills that my home university could not provide.
The best aspect of study at the University of Bologne is students’ full autonomy. The choice of subjects is not bound by any particular programme. It is possible to attend multiple subjects that will be useful for you in future. There is an optimal balance between theory and practice.
As for the study process,surprisingly students attend only lectures. If you seek practical skills, head to the library and work on the practical tasks recommended by your professor or browse the tasks in the sources recommended. Of course you can take a separate practical subject in addition to a theoretical one. However, it may not be available and if it is - only after the theoretical course ends. That is why university libraries and co-working and study spaces are always packed. Just imagine, you can see a queue not for an event or a canteen but the library!
Despite the intensity of the programme and relatively short subject length (up to one month), the whole experience was very useful for me. Overall, I learnt about different models of risk assessment, financial price instruments, cost of business, methods of econometric analysis and their application in R-Studio and programming skills in Python.
Another important aspect of my trip is cultural communication and enrichment. Europe is romanticized in the Russian culture, therefore I left home anticipating some magic. And even though the reality was not all roses I definitely enjoyed Italian culture and traditions.
If you opt for international mobility programs you get the opportunity not only to learn something new about architecture or art but experience a deep insight into the language, daily life, traditions and cuisine. Within 4 months I managed to learn the basics of Italian language and, thanks to the two local girls I lived with, Italian customs. I learned most of the facts about local traditions and the cuisine from travelling. Every Italian city has something special to offer: Rome - ancient architecture, Florence – the spirit of art and freedom of creativity, Alpine towns of Merano and Bolzano – a relaxed pace of life.
Yet, Bologna, the city where I studied, impressed me the most. It’s a true city of students. You can see it from the graffitis on the walls, streets full of confetti and the smell of champagne (meaning someone was granted a diploma that day), co-working in cafes, people sitting everywhere be it a lawn, stairs or a square in front of the Basilica of San Petronio. In Bologne, as everywhere else in Italy, no one is anxious or in a rush and the aroma and flavor of coffee and pizza are directly associated with hard student work. So if you want to fully experience a student life, Bologne is the best option for that.
It is worth mentioning that the university provides extensive services for international students: language courses and various events, university Open House days and memberships in student organizations.
More than 80 thousand students study at the university so it gives you a wonderful chance for meeting people from all over the world, improving your language and communication skills and making friends. If you want to get fully immersed in the language you can join international organizations, for example Erasmusland, that offer multiple activities every day.
The experience gave me a perfect opportunity to challenge and learn new things about myself, improve my skills, set priorities and realize what interests me most.
Consequently, I can only tell you the following: International mobility is something that you can and should experience.