By Georgia Nicklin, BSc Finance and Management with the University of Venice at the ICMA Centre, Henley Business School.
The best part of my experience was the fact that I was waking up in the centre of a beautiful city everyday. It was amazing that I could just go on a walk with amazing surroundings whenever I felt like it. Being a ‘local’, I learnt the best routes to avoid the tourists and found places I will never forget. I loved immersing myself into a new culture and discovering a different part of Venice everyday.
My favourite past time was sitting in the University café (located next to the main Ca’ Foscari University Building) around the corner from my house, drinking a €1 espresso and eating a croissant. I think I did this at least 5 times a week and introduced this habit to all of my friends too!
Other than San Tomà, my favourite locations in Venice were Zattere and Castello. In Zattere, I loved walking along the lagoon and round to the Church, Santa Maria della Salute, and then to the Academia Bridge. Conveniently, one of the University libraries was based in Zattere so I would always do this lovely walk on my lunch break. Castello is where the locals live and I just loved how quiet it was compared to the rest of Venice. From St. Mark’s Square, I loved walking to Giardini and having a picnic with friends.
Things I wish I had known beforehand
After my parents left to go back to England and my second week of living in Venice commenced, I was hit by a massive culture shock. Being alone, barely speaking the language and having to adjust to a brand new city was more difficult than I expected. After speaking to friends later on in the year, they all agreed that they felt the same at one point so it’s natural to hit a low point!
During welcome week, I recommend going to as many welcome events as possible so that you can meet lots and lots of new people. I remember there was a particularly good Welcome Day held in the main university building where there was a buffet and spritz; it was the perfect ice-breaker.
I was unaware there was an ESN (Erasmus student network) before arriving in Venice so I really recommend searching for this on Facebook before you leave England, so you know what events are on. The group is called ‘ESN Venezia’. They hold highly discounted events which involve alcohol and partying (of course), but also trips to other cities (I went to Rome with ESN) and events around Venice such as walking tours, treasure hunts etc. I made so many friends through the events ESN held and I’m sure you will too!
In Venice, you are not given a timetable for your lectures – you have to search for this yourself on their website (there is an English version) so make sure you do this. You can contact your supervisor, Monica Billio, for help if need be, but you must prepare yourself that the Italians seem quite disorganised compared to the Brits, and in fact very laid back, so have patience! If you have a meeting booked with a lecturer at 11am and they don’t arrive until 11:45, that’s completely normal!
Georgia is a student at the ICMA Centre studying BSc Finance and Management. The degree is a unique three year experience, where students spend their second year at Ca’ Foscari, University of Venice. As the first student from Reading to have completed this part of the programme, we’ve got Georgia to share her experiences during her year in Venice.
In the final part of her blog, Georgia provides a list of her recommendations.