Yesterday I went to a little reunion for all the students doing Erasmus or Study Abroad in Ferrara. There were students from the USA, from France, from Spain, from Germany. I real mix of people spread across departments, all united to have an experience abroad. It was nice to meet new people, add a bit of personal connection to the experience and learn that some people hadn’t learned Italian for more than a month and were approaching the whole situation with a very light-hearted attitude that within a month everything would be alright. Just that has given me a new breath of confidence. I marvel at the fact that these people have hardly any Italian and are facing university-level Italian. A German guy said he admired the fact that I am traveling so far from home to have an experience abroad, but I admire many of these Erasmus students because they face a new challenge with so much determination and so little stress.
As my mother told me, it is amazing how small of a threshold I have for frustration. I’d like to be plopped into a new situation and just start learning and running and understanding. The second difficulties pop in, my mind goes into panic. And the first three days of class were like that. But once I started finding the books that I have to read for my classes, and bought some and photocopied others, I felt better. I can start planning my own studies and take the whole learning process as much into my own hands as possible.
So for now, the first week is over. It was tough. I felt like quitting. I felt like crying. I didn’t understand a whole bunch of what I was doing or what I was hearing. But I am still here, still alive and well in Italy, determined to tackle this difficult beast, determined to succeed and look back on the crises of this first week and laugh.