Piotr is one of our Essex students who studied abroad in Italy in 2021/22. We asked him about his time abroad and why he choose to study thereā€¦

Why did you choose to go to Italy?

For a long time I was fascinated by the Italian culture and language, which I chose to study at Essex. It is a beautiful country with delicious food, a rich history and very friendly and welcoming people. I have been to Italy before and each time it was a very positive and interesting experience. I wanted to live there for a longer period of time to get to know the place better and to improve my Italian.

An image of Piotr with an Italian castle on a hill in the background

What are the differences between the Italian university and Essex?

I didn't have to write any papers or work on projects for most of the academic year. I got all my grades from the exams that take place during the exam period at the end of the term. This is a big difference to studying in the UK where grades are earned throughout the year.

What were the best moments from your time in Italy?

I have a lot of great memories of travelling around the country and visiting picturesque towns and sights. However, my best memories are of trips and events organized by the Erasmus student network, such as a ski trip to Abruzzo or playing paintball in a field on the outskirts of Rome.

What was your favourite local meal?

Definitely pasta. Rome, and whole of Italy, is full of great restaurants offering delicious pasta dishes such as carbonara or cacio e pepe. I also miss the pizza there which is much better and cheaper than what you can find in the UK.

Did you feel different after your year abroad?

Yes, certainly. I changed a lot after my stay in Italy. The experiences and the knowledge I gained during that time made me think and judge differently. Being in a different environment gives you the opportunity to get to know yourself better and understand your strengths and weaknesses. It also requires a lot of responsibility and maturity. I think that, thanks to my Italian friends, I have also learned to be more affectionate and to enjoy everyday things.

A photo of 9 people with the two central figures in historical costume

What would your advice be to anyone considering studying in another country?

To fully understand the country you are going to and learn the most, you need to be very open-minded and tolerant. It is very possible that your stay abroad will require you to abandon your previous routines and get out of the comfort zone, which can be difficult. But it is an experience that you will be grateful for and you will learn a lot of useful things.

Inspired by Piotr's story? Find out more about Study Abroad opportunities.