Universita degli Studi di Padova
Universita degli Studi di Padova
by Denisa Jandová
To all who are interested in the one-year Erasmus stay in Padua
Ciao a tutti!
I’m writing to you at the end of the first semester after finishing my last exam and full of wonderful experiences from one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Padua is situated in Veneto, one of the most important industrial and tourist regions in the north of Italy. It is a typical student city with all its diversions: small gelaterias, pizzerias and bars offering Spritz, cafés in the piazzas with espresso, markets with fresh vegetables, fruits and fish or Prato della Valle where groups of friends hang around. The atmosphere is completely different from the sometimes hectic life in Prague and you’ll get used to it immediately after your arrival.
There are many ways to come here. The easiest and fastest way is by plane. The WizzAir flights fly directly from Prague to Treviso from where it takes about an hour to get to Padua by bus. Try to buy a bike as soon as possible after your arrival. It is the cheapest and quite a common means of local transport, and you’ll save a lot of time especially if you don’t live in the centre because the buses don’t usually come on time.
Concerning the accommodation, the best thing to do is to come to Padua in the summer and try to find something. There are many students who look for other students to share a flat with for good price. Otherwise, there is always the SASSA Service offering residences to students. If for any reason you're not satisfied with your residence you can choose to leave at the end of the first semester, as I did, provided you give notice by November. The SASSA Service also provides catering during the whole week and its canteens are among the best, so don’t worry if you don’t like cooking. The meals there are exquisite and there are many dishes to choose from for the main course. As a student, you will automatically you will automatically be entitled to discounts for lunch and dinner, so that a two course meal with dessert is only 4 euros.
In fact, the University of Padua represents the main part of everyday life here. It offers various courses at thirteen faculties and has an international reputation as a centre with a high standard of tutoring and research. I’ve been attending lessons mostly at the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy. I suggest that you find some courses you are interested in before your departure. The easiest way is to find teachers from the appropriate department and to look at their websites where there is information on the courses. The lectures are open for everyone, so it’s not necessary to sign up online like in our faculty. You can attend them and decide if you want to continue or not.
Studying is divided into the three-year B.A. programme (Laurea) and the two-year M.A. programme (Specialistica) but don’t be astonished if you take a first or second year course and you get taught about English literature in Italian. Unfortunately, students of English start their studies in their mother tongue, especially for the first two years due to a low level of English taught at their high schools. For that reason, your options may be limited without knowledge of Italian. The M.A. programme is held only in English and the last two years focus mainly on grammatical issues, translation and postcolonial and modern literature. I’ve followed most of my classes with M.A. students and took some courses from B.A. course to make up 30 credits. I would recommend classes with great professors like Annalisa Oboe and Mario Melchionda who teach the courses by postcolonial and contemporary literature, Jozef Falinski majoring in grammar and translation or courses of Maria Grazia Busà dealing with the introduction to the genres of mass communication with a reference to English and American newspapers and advertisements.
Many students applying for the Erasmus programme think that the stay abroad consists only of parties and lot of free time. In fact, you must read a lot, write essays and be ready to discuss things especially in the M.A. programme. However, with a good time management you’ll also enjoy nice time out with your new friends. J
Besides studying, you can take a part in various activities offered by the university like dancing, singing in a choir or playing in the theatre. You can also discover more about the cuisine and local habits either by attending events of the ESN association, which arranges parties, trips and sport activities for Erasmus students or simply by travelling around with your friends and exploring Italian culture (for instance, you can spend a nice weekend in Venice or Verona which are only 30 minutes away by train). J
I hope my letter helped you to make at least a basic idea of how life goes here. If you have any other questions about the university, activities, people or anything else I may have forgotten to mention feel free to contact me on my e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
(CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Denisa Jandová. Some rights reserved.