The fact that I moved to Edinburgh from Italy was already a sort of ‘study abroad’ experience for me, although I could not resist when I saw all the opportunities offered by the University to expand my studies in another country. Napier offers exchange opportunities for one or two semesters, either in Europe, US, China and even Australia. Based on your degree, you can choose where you’d like to spend one or two semesters – just make sure you find courses that have exchangeable credits, something close enough to reflect the modules you’d have taken at Napier (otherwise the exchange may not be approved). The office in charge of exchanges helped me so much during the whole application process, and I can gladly say I ended up with the best experience of my life 🙂
In August 2010 I landed in San Jose, California, about an hour by car from San Francisco and I started one of the most amazing years of my life. I was living in the International House of San Jose State University, an incredible house (which I still consider a castle, rather than a house!) that I shared with another 70 students from all over the world.
Useless to say, I learnt so much about other cultures, as well as about myself. It was not always easy to get along with different attitudes, behaviours and characters, but hey, I swear I only have beautiful memories. It’s incredible how much you can learn from living with people used to different customs and practices, discovering new ideas and talk about topics you’ve never thought about before. What is particular of SJSU I-House is the Pancake Breakfast, an event organised every semester by all I-House residents. Apart from being a fundraising event for the House aimed to support all different activities for the students who live there, it is also (and this is the main purpose) a great way to get people from the community to join the international students for an international breakfast and get to know their cultures. During the event there is live entertainment (during my 2 semesters there was also Josh, a guy who played the bagpipe! I swear I missed Scotland so much when I was listening to him!), fashion show with dresses from all over the world, and live streaming of the event on the internet – so alumni can participate, too!
Another great even organised on a semester-base is the Formal Dinner – a night when all the residents dress up super fancy as it’s kind of an exchange wrap-up moment. Soon after that many people have to fly back to their home countries – pretty sad! Even thinking about it now makes my eyes a little teary..! However, I’m seriously happy for what I was able to experience at the I-House, incredible learning experience that enriched my soul so much.
But hey! This is not all! Come back next week for some more details about my exchange..this was just a teaser 🙂