“We find studying very important here in Italy” is what the vice president of the University said on our introduction day, which is already almost three weeks ago. I must say, a lot of things have happened. For me as an exchange student in Florence , unusual things…
First of all, unfortunately, we don’t have so many classes with Italian students. Most of the classes that I have are with a high percentage of Erasmus students, what, by the way, not every teacher likes.
My first week as an exchange student in Florence
This week has been the first week of the three where I am hopefully sure of what courses I am going to follow as an exchange student in Florence. The last two weeks there have been a lot of changes in my schedule. This was because I decided that a course was not interesting or that, on the other hand, the teacher or coordinator just decided that they were not going to provide this course anymore for this semester which was very much by our surprise that they are able to do that…
Some courses that I follow are Master courses, which is very much by my surprise, too, when looking at the level of the course, but I will come to that later. First, I really want to tell you something else.
The campus in Florence
So, the campus of the university is called: Novoli and has different buildings (D15, D6, D4 etc.). There are different types of classrooms, ones for 40 students others for 80 students. However, since our first class, we have experienced something quite unusual as I would call it. I will give an example; A lesson starts at 16:15, whereas the lesson before finishes at 16:00. So, I go from one building to the other, open the door of the classroom and the whole room is full. No seats anymore. Yes, you read that right. No seats. So, what happens then or either you go and sit on the ground or you keep standing for the upcoming one and a half hour (or sometimes four hours) or you try to find a chair in another room and just place it somewhere in the classroom. I actually should have taken pictures of this, because really, it looked hilarious. The first time, when this happened I had class with my Dutch friends and to be honest, we were shocked. There was even an Italian girl coming in a little late and said: “No worries, I am used to sit on the ground during class”. You should have seen our faces at that moment…
Level of education and available subjects
To come back to the level of the (Master) courses, I will start with telling you what I have chosen. As most of you probably know do I study International Business and Management Studies in the Netherlands. I am not able to choose my courses freely, which I find unfortunate, which if I would have been, I had chosen ones that I would find more interesting. For now, if nothing changes again are this the courses that I will follow further:
- Topics in Marketing and Management
- Destination Management (My favorite)
- International Trade
- Topics in Human Resources (non-attending)
- Public Economics and International Cooperation
What you need to know about attendence
At the university students can decide themselves if they want to attend a course or not. This may sound a little weird to you now, but I will explain that. So, there are attending and non-attending students. You have to decide which one you want to be per course. As you can see, do I follow one non-attending course. The teacher just decided not to give class anymore and, therefore, only non-attending was left. Besides the difference of attending (you have to be present 70% or 80%) the course or not, do the exams also differ.
Exams as an exchange student in Florence
The exams for the attending students are, in my case, research reports (of ONLY 15 pages together with five other students) + 30 minutes presentation or a written exam about powerpoint slides. Whereas, on the other hand, for the non-attending students, it is always a written exam from literature/books.
You know what also does get my attention is the fact that when we do have Italian students in the lesson, that they are most of the time, the ones who are typing everything on their laptop, asking the questions, etc. I am the one who is more distracted by looking out of the window. Drawing stars on my notebook or, like now, finishing my blog during class (oepsie…). Maybe an excuse, maybe not.. I am so not used to sit in a big classroom and just listen for one and a half hour. This is not exaggerating, because sometimes it is even four hours without almost any interaction. I sort of get bored.
Yes, the time is there. In three weeks and one day (So, I fly home the 21of December), I will be going home which means several things. One, we are enjoying everything more and more, and two that the exams are around the corner. I have five exams in three days (13th December, 16th & 17th December). When I fail an exam, what hopefully will not happen, but of course, can happen, I can resit it in January. I am most likely going back from the 13th of January to the 17th, also to arrange the last things with the re-enrolment of the university. However, during those days are also two resits, incase I need to do them.
The subjects I have chosen differ very much from difficulty. Some are very easy, a lot of papers, but easy, and others are a lot and more difficult. Because of this, my friends and I spend a lot of hours in the library at school. Although the library has many seats, it is already full around ten o’clock in the morning. Yes, a great motivation to wake up early and be there at around nine. Sometimes, staying in the library to study has more value than going to the lesson, so that is then also, what happens often.
After a day of studying and I usually went for a lesson at the gym and after met my friends. On the picture beneath we were at the Christmas market at Santa Croce in the city centre. Doing this sorts of outdoor activities besides studying, wasn’t always possible. In the months October en November it was raining so much. Really I have never seen so much rain in my life. Not that it was cold though (15 to 17 degrees), still sometimes I got soaked three times a day.