Keep your mind open: the key for a successful Erasmus year

Andrea Naldi, student of Veterinary coming to University CEU Cardenal Herrera from Bologna under the Erasmus programme tells us about his story, his passion for traveling and meeting new people.

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Why did you choose to come to our university and to Spain for your Erasmus year?

I chose  University CEU Cardenal Herrera because first of all it has a great name and fame in Bologna. Moreover, this is the only university that was offering me a different academic programme. The majority of universities adopted the Bologna plan without changing their academic programme, at least for what concerns my degree. Thus, they kept the teaching of all the basic subjects such as Medical Pathology, Surgery, Clinic… etc.

The CEU-UCH tries to include all of these and so here I have studied subjects such as Clinic for Small Animals, Horse Clinic, and what I like is that they give you a wide theoretical formation that you can apply straight to the practice.

You told us that you selected the CEU-UCH because it offers something different. In this sense, what would be for you the most important difference between Italy and Spain, between Bologna and Valencia?

Of course, I would say that it is really difficult to compare two countries that include so many different regions. But for what it concerns the city, I think I can. The main difference is the way Spanish people welcome you; maybe this is because I am an Erasmus student but everybody has been really sweet and have welcomed me really well. For example, between the first and the second semester, I needed to move from my flat to get closer to the university.

I met some old classmates who sheltered me and offered me the living for one month… This is to say that it seems that here I met some true friends; I think they are great relations that I will try to keep when I get back to Bologna.

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Do you think that these relations you are explaining to us are coming from the fact that you are an Erasmus student?

It is true, as an Erasmus student I think that my state of mind and the way I think have also changed, I feel more open-minded and I always try to be open to meeting new people and I see that they respond to that by being more open-minded too. I do not know if it is something special in Spain or if it comes from the fact of me being an Erasmus but I think that at the end, it is a mix of both.

The truth is that here you can experience it in a great way as Erasmus student, you can live it the way you want in Valencia, and there are good things for everyone.

Indeed, there are Erasmus students that want to make as much parties as possible, others who want to study at maximum or want to go on  sports or cultural trips. This is what I like in Valencia, you can do whatever you want with the people you want, whatever your objectives are, there is a way to accomplish them in Valencia.

And for what it concerns your personal experience here, what would be your best memory here at the CEU-UCH or in Spain?

It is hard to choose the best experience because it seems more like a mix of a lot of good things. An Erasmus year is like growing up really fast, like spending 5 years at home. Personally my objective is to come back with as many cool memories as possible concerning what has made me grow.

But if I need to say what I preferred, I will say my trips. I have been traveling a lot during the last months, for example to Morocco and I loved to meet their culture, a culture that gives value to time. I like to remember the thing a Moroccan told me in the street. That was not the typical Don’t do tomorrow what you can do today but on the other way, Do it tomorrow because maybe if you do it today tomorrow you won’t have nothing else to do.

It can seem weird to a European but at the end it allows to experience the time in a different way, and to deepen the relationship you have with the people and yourself, but this is just my opinion. I never felt such a welcoming atmosphere and it gave me even more motivation to travel and discover new cultures.

I have been traveling also in the surroundings of Valencia, walking only with a backpack and landscapes let me speechless. I have been traveling also to Andalucía with some friends and we experienced an unplanned trip discovering a lot of really cool places such as a hippy community and some of the best beaches of the region.

I also need to speak about the people I met, like my Spanish friends, that welcomed me in their flat and even invited me to record a video with them at the Sierra Calderona.

At the end I can say that my best experience here has been the Erasmus year at University CEU Cardenal Herrera in itself, I would not do things in another way even If I had the opportunity to do so.

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How do you consider the way the CEU-UCH University helps international and Erasmus students?

Well, for what concerns administration there are not so many things to say because they let you quite free.

A thing that surprised me is that when I arrived in the International Relations Office, I did not know so much Spanish and I barely knew anything about the university but the person who was working there to welcome international and Erasmus students helped me a lot.

Indeed, she brought me to all the places of interest, taught me about every faculty, the language center and we talked a lot. It did not seem like a formal relation, it was like we knew each other for a long time … I hope it’s the same in Italy!

I realized that there are a lot of things done here at CEU-UCH for students but you have to look for them by yourselves … although it seems to be changing now for international students, with the creation of the specifically-made-for-us International Facebook  & Twitter pages that give some very useful information.

Thank you very much for your responses, before ending this up, we would like to know if you have any advice to give future international and Erasmus students?

For all Erasmus I would like to say that the most important thing is to come with a good state of mind, this is to say that the best comes with the more open state of mind possible and try to enjoy everything. But above all, to come here with a clear idea of what you want to get from this experience.

If you are not coming from a European country, try to take advantage of being here by visiting other European countries because there are all really different and, on the other side, if you are coming from a European country, try to visit Spain, to know the different regions which also are really different and interesting.

And finally, you should really take a Spanish grammar class before coming here because yes, Spanish people are really open-minded but you need to know how to communicate with them to understand and make the best of it!

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