Ritika: First Impressions of Bologna

Pre-departure:

Like a lot of other universities, it takes you a very long time to get an acceptance letter from the University of Bologna. I received my acceptance letter at the start of June which meant my exchange was finally official and I could apply for my visa.

I would highly recommend starting the visa process as soon as possible as it can take up to a month (fortunately I received mine in a week!) and as they require a lot of documents including all your flight tickets before you arrive in Italy, insurance, and proof of accommodation.

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Arriving in Bologna:

After a month of travelling around Europe I finally landed in Bologna on the 3rd of September ready to begin my study abroad experience. I was extremely nervous to say the least. I had never been to Italy before and could barely understand the language.

I moved into my accommodation the next day. Luckily the two other Kiwis moved in to the same residency on the same day!! (we had never even planned this it just seemed to all work out perfectly!)

I arrived in Bologna two weeks before my classes started so I had enough time to settle in and explore the city.

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The city itself is beautiful and extremely hot when I arrived (it was about 33 degrees every day). All the buildings are different shades of red, orange and yellow and has many different alleys to explore, the quintessential European city for you get lost in its streets! We even have a leaning tower in Bologna that leans more than the famous leaning tower of Pisa!

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An important thing to remember is that it does take time to adjust, you can’t just expect to be settled in in a few days. It was the first time I had been on an exchange this long and the idea of being in a country where I knew no one and didn’t speak the language scared me, but trust me you will eventually adjust and love it!

Campus:

The University of Bologna is the oldest university in the Western world and extremely large (there are about 85,000 students this year!). The city itself is covered in university buildings. As I am studying commerce all my classes are found in the economics building and it is super close to the other faculties, restaurants and shops.

The past one and a half months have been overwhelming but really exciting. I’m really loving my time here in Bologna so far.

Thanks for reading! Look out for my next post where I’ll tell you all about finding accommodation in Bologna.

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