Erasmus in Rome: between the worlds Life & Style

3/4/2010 by Dina Nurpeissova Kazakhstan

Just imagine. You are twenty six years old and at the end of your studies in your own country you are finally able to commit to one of those projects you had always on your mind to go abroad as Erasmus student. If you have not watched the French film "L'Auberge Espagnol", in which a young French Erasmus student goes to exciting Barcelona, you should do so. This movie gives you a vision as to how it is to spend time leaning in and learning about another country with Erasmus. It suggests a romantic ideal of living on a new place with new friends from all over the Europe, going every night out, having endless parties and a lifestyle crammed with new and exciting experiences. But things might look differently when you are a little bit older than those average wanna-know-more-people-and-parties students. Once you have crossed the border of all these parties and with your Facebook account showing around 300 people from all the parts of the world, you might prefer to concentrate on more essential things: like learning the country and its inherent cultural values, staying more with people who actually live in state you have chosen, and, finally, speaking more Italian than English.
One of my goals was definitely to learn the beautiful Italian language. The language of those softly sounding explanations as to how you should play the piano pieces like diminuendo, crescendo, allegro, dolce, forte... Every little child deals with the dolcezza of this language at the music school! So, convinced that for learning the language and understanding the culture the best would be to find a place with the Italian flatmates, I have started all this research beginning with internet pages and ending up with the Porta Portese, which every Rome-long-term-visitor knows. Posto letto, not far away from Stazione Trastevere, was a start. Living with girls from Toscana and Marche I got the chance to learn more about their home regions, especially in the linguistic sense.
Rome is amazing in that it doesn't matter how hard you try, it is nearly impossible to live with the Romans themselves! Being inspired by Albert Epstein's book "As the Romans do" ( highly recommended) I was searching to experience that what was described in the stories. One thing I came to understand well is that Italy is a very diverse country, where you find many cultures, culinary styles and attitudes towards their own country. After having moved second time in the Eternal City I still found myself with not-Romans: flatmates from Puglia and Piemonte! Looking at my student card and remembering that "Erasmus student" is actually the official title that brought me here, brings me back to the original purpose of coming here, to towards the cultural program prepared by the very active student organization ESN Roma ASE. Culture - both "popular" and "high" is offered to the Erasmus community by this group of Italian students. The program is rich with 3-day-trips throughout the country, museum visits, the joy of Italian cinema and of course, those famous cocktail nights (bar Cuccagna not far away from Piazza Navona) and the parties (festa). Speaking about the percentage numbers of the Erasmus students Spain leads, followed by Germany, Portugal and France. After a three day trip with Erasmus students, sometimes you realize that it is Spanish and not Italian that circulates in your head. The trips are actually the best parts of the program, on them you learn so much about the diverse personalities, different cultures and also about yourself. If you are lucky enough, you can clear your mind from all the clichés and prejudices of certain nationalities. Well, sometimes, unfortunately at other times they can get stronger. Some Germans are closed and cold, some Spaniards are as always "fiesta people!" some Portuguese people can be melancholic and some French people do prefer to stay only among their fellow countrymen.... Voilà! But you always get something out of it, good or bad, significant or minor; As in life it is the process, the activity that counts.
And you always learn something out of the stay as studentessa straniera a Roma! So, I am sitting now happily here in my new home with pugliese and piemontese and keeping an eye out for what the next interesting event Erasmus will bring into my Roman life...

Dina Nurpeissova Kazakhstan

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