First months as an exchange student in Italy

Hello everybody, I’m Serafima from Finland and soon I have spent 3 months here in Italy as an exchange student. I live here in Italy in a city called Latina which is about an hour drive from Rome. In this first blog post, I’m going to tell you a little bit what has happened so far and what are my feelings now.

Date of departure

Let’s start from the very first day, Saturday 11 September, when I had a wake-up call already at 3.30 am (or well it wasn’t even a wake up because I hadn’t been able to sleep when I was so excited haha). I gathered myself up and said goodbye to my dog with tears on my eyes, then we drove towards Helsinki-Vantaa Airport with my family. And only there I realized that now I am really going, and I have to leave all the people I love there. However, the moment when I walked through the security check, I felt that now the whole world is open to me, even though at the same time I was a bit anxious and scared. The flight went very well and then was already time to meet my host family for the first time. So my host family includes my host mum, host dad and 8 year old host sister and they were all there for me at the airport, from where we then drove towards my new home. The first meeting went well, and it felt already quite natural. On the first day I also met my local coordinators who is one really nice couple.

The first weeks

The first couple of days we spent on the nearby beach enjoying the sun, but then it was time for the first day of school, which went well, although at the beginning I was so nervous. However, everyone was really nice and they helped me to understand what the teachers said (here the teachers don’t know any English and in that time my Italian wasn’t very strong). So the first weeks went very well and also many students from other classes were really interested about me because I’m the only exchange student here. And I had really good time with all of them when we went for example to get breakfast before the school started. During the first few weeks I also got to experience for example the Italian wedding, which was absolutely wonderful, it was in that big villa and there were so many delicious foods there.

We have also visited with my host family for example a couple of times in Rome and then we also made a few days trip to Toscana where we visited for example Siena and Arezzo. We have done also a lot of other day trips to different places, which has been so nice because I love to see new places.

And now when I have been here over 2 months, I have noticed that my Italian language skills have already developed a lot and I can already have whole discussions in Italian and for example with my host family we mainly speak in Italian all the time. I feel like that now I have found also the real friends here. So, although my feelings are very good at the moment and I'm so happy and grateful that I get to be here, even though of course sometimes there is moments when I feel homesick and question why I'm even here but it’s normal.

In future blogs, I will tell you more for example about my everyday life, school and culture here. But if you want to see more of my exchange year meanwhile you can follow me on instagram: @serafimatriina or if you have any questions you can also put a dm for me.