Before filling out my application for the Erasmus, I hadn’t considered Ostrava as a destination, but for bureaucratic reasons I ended up here.
Before the departure I was very excited and looking forward to the experience. On the other hand, I had no clue about what to expect from this… I had never heard about this place before, and the only information I managed to obtain was from the internet. I was afraid to face the unknown. With these thoughts in mind the day of my departure arrived. To be completely honest, my first impression of Ostrava was not so great. I come from Italy, and I am used to different landscapes and city views. The first week I was terrified and constantly wondering where I ended up. However, in a little while I was able to see the beauty that the city hides. There are a lot of activities you can enjoy indoors but mostly outdoors. Nature surrounds you everywhere and no matter if it is a sunny, windy, or snowy day you will be able to enjoy the quiet it transmits and, if you like, see some animals!
I became really inspired by the teacher, and I felt welcome to share my thoughts and my knowledge. I think it will be hard for me to find a better environment than this one.
From the academic point of view, the Faculty of Social Studies really surprised me. I am in my second year of university studies of social work, and I was never able to talk to the professors and confront them as if I were on the same level before. I was able to feel, see, and hear the passion about the subject and the willingness to always learn something more from everyone we meet. I became really inspired by the teacher, and I felt welcome to share my thoughts and my knowledge. I think it will be hard for me to find a better environment than this one.
The study timetable is not that full and this allowed me to have some free time to fulfill as I prefer. Back home in Italy, I am not used to having nothing to do. I have my routine, my friends, and my activities, but after coming here I had nothing.
This I think is one of the best and worst things about my stay in Ostrava. I had some free time where I was forced to take a break and slow down, learn the sweetness of doing nothing, or as we call it in Italy “il dolce far niente”. This also taught me to schedule in my routine some “me-time” and I definitely want to adopt this peaceful and slower rhythm in my daily routine in Italy.
I also had opportunity to go on several trips. I was actually surprised about the great connection that Ostrava offers. For example, I was able to get to Budapest by one direct train! I think traveling was one of the best parts of my Erasmus experience. I learned to travel in a country where you don’t know the language, to travel with people you’ve just met, to travel with people who want to explore things like you and also people who don’t, and to travel alone. Most importantly, I learned to adapt and that there is a solution for everything: if you miss a train, you can always catch one later.
After everything, my Erasmus was challenging, but in a beautiful way, and I will not exchange it for any other experience.
There were times during my stay when all I wanted to do was to be at home with my friends. However, I realize I made new great friends here and that this city is starting to feel a little bit like home as well. After everything, my Erasmus was challenging, but in a beautiful way, and I will not exchange it for any other experience.
Foto: Veronika Mia Racko & Giulia Borsin