The political engagement at the University of Vienna

“Gegen Rassismus”, “Make Marxism great again” or “Wir reden nicht über links oder rechts, wir reden mit DIR – Jetzt AG wählen!“ These are just some slogans on posters in front of the university – there are many more. When I arrived at the University of Vienna (and it’s important to know that I study in the main building because it is especially intensive there), then it looks like this for example: First, I get a flyer from the green student party, then I get a Fairtrade coffee from an environment organization and then the newspaper “Der Standard”. And that happens almost every day. For me, that was a completely new experience. During my first two weeks in Vienna this was really unfamiliar for me because at the main building in Berne, there is not a spectacle like this. Of course, I never thought that it is bad but at the beginning I thought “is that not too much?” I mean, I get that many flyers, things or information that I never could or would want to read all of them. Continue reading “The political engagement at the University of Vienna”

Eating Habits in Denmark

When I had a first look at my timetable for the semester at Aarhus University, I already wondered whether the Danes did not consider lunch as an important meal during the day. This is because two of my three classes took place from 11am to 2pm. At home, I am used to having lunch as the biggest meal of the day – and now I was supposed to basically not have lunch at all? As the canteen served lunch exactly between 11am and 2pm, there was not even a possibility to have a very early or a very late lunch before or after class. Having no other possibility I started to do what most of the Danish students did: Run to the canteen in one of the two 15-minutes breaks and grab some food to go, usually some salad or a sandwich – and then eat it during class. In the beginning I felt very uncomfortable eating during class as I considered it rude, particularly because we were only a small group of students. In fact, it turned out to be quite usual, at least tolerated if not welcomed. There was this one guy who always got himself the full menu in the staff canteen and used to bring the whole tray to class. It was even not uncommon to see our lecturer holding the lecture while eating a sandwich. The first few times I had lunch during class I tried to be very careful and as quiet as possible because I somehow felt ashamed although I was not the only one eating. During the course of the semester I got more and more relaxed and in the last few weeks I did not even give it a thought anymore. Having lunch during class has become a routine on lecture days. Continue reading “Eating Habits in Denmark”

The beginning of a long-lasting Italian friendship

My stay in Italy was an amazing time. Even though it was “just” three months, I experienced a very intense and instructive time in Cesena. Intense, because it was merely three months when I had the possibility to see life in Cesena and to become familiar with some unfamiliar aspects of a different lifestyle and culture that were unfamiliar to me before. Instructive, as I got the chance during my stay to broaden my mind and to go beyond myself thanks to interesting acquaintance which I made as well as diverse challenges I had to cope with. It is really startling how fast I got used to or became familiar with circumstances and people, both considerably foreign or unfamiliar to me at the very beginning of my stay. For that reason I would like to write about a person I met, how I perceived her at the beginning and how our relationship during my residence chanced. From my viewpoint I am going to reflect this intercultural relationship, how I felt or observed the first contact between us and how this process of a very valuable intercultural encounter changed my self-perception and in some aspects even my attitude towards life. Continue reading “The beginning of a long-lasting Italian friendship”

Living my Erasmus in a city

My life in Prague is in many ways different than my life in Switzerland.

One crucial difference is that in Prague, I am nearly never alone. Whether I am at the university, in a park or in town, there are people everywhere. In the dormitory I am nearly never alone either, because since in Prague it is normal to share a room with someone, I am hardly alone at home. Often people are visiting and stay in my room, or the other way around: I visit friends in their room. Continue reading “Living my Erasmus in a city”

How English Changes in Everyday Life – Belfast English and its Derivation from Standard English

Having studied English for more than 10 years, I didn’t expect communication to be difficult during my stay abroad in Northern Ireland, although I was a bit afraid of the accent I would be confronted with. When I finally arrived in Belfast at the end of January, I had to take a taxi from the airport to the university campus. This was my first interaction with locals and their accent. The taxi driver started a conversation with me right away, but I literally understood nothing and even asked myself whether he was actually speaking English. He spoke very fast, made use of a lot of idioms and used the word ‘wee’ like three times in one sentence. I asked him several times to repeat what he had just said, but after a while I was so exhausted that I ended up nodding in the hope that he wouldn’t realise that I didn’t understand anything. This first confrontation with the heavy and fast Belfast accent was very frightening for me and I expected my university courses to be very difficult. But luckily, this first impression deceived. Continue reading “How English Changes in Everyday Life – Belfast English and its Derivation from Standard English”

Ricco e intenso; il linguaggio italiano

Just to start with my reflection on the language task I will first write about some short facts concerning the language “italiano”. In a second step I will carry on with reporting the difficulties I have to face, how I cope with the language, what the most concise differences between the languages Italian and German are and finally how all these experiences affected my skills and knowledge for further life. Continue reading “Ricco e intenso; il linguaggio italiano”

Reflection on the languages used when studying in Prague

My reflection on language is not only the reflection on the Czech language, but also a reflection about all the other languages I can use with the people I am living with. It is a topic I like to write about, because it is one of the most challenging things here for me. Furthermore, I really like it to learn languages. So it is quite perfect to live with people who speak different languages, although it might be confusing as well to switch all the time from one language to another one. Continue reading “Reflection on the languages used when studying in Prague”

Reflection on German and English language

How I am coping with the foreign language during my Erasmus?

First of all I have to say that my mother tongue is Italian. I am from the south of Switzerland, the Italian speaking part of the country. At school I had to learn French, English and German. Then I decided to study at the University of Berne, in the north of Switzerland. It has been almost five years now that I am daily confronted with the German language. So here in Bielefeld (Germany) the language is not a problem. My German skills are really good. Nonetheless I had the possibility to further improve them by taking an intensive language course in C1 level before the beginning of the semester. Furthermore, many people notice my dialect and talk to me in English, or ask if I am from Switzerland, or where my dialect is from. Still, nobody asks me if I am Italian. Continue reading “Reflection on German and English language”

Dutch & English

Maastricht is a small city which has a big famous University with a lot of exchange students. All the lectures are in English and everyone speak English here. I can really tell that my English is improved since I got here because English is almost the only language I use to communicate, which also means that I don’t really get in contact with Dutch as a language. After meeting a lot of exchange students who are from all over the world, I can really tell where the people come from based on their accents while speaking English. I don’t really have any problem speaking or understand English here. What I noticed is that people who speak the same language tend to hang out with each other more. The Americans, Canadians, Australians are always in the same group, so are the Latin American and Spanish. Especially the Spanish-speaking students, they often speak Spanish to each other when they are in class, the same for German students who always speak German together. That’s why the university has a strict rule for every tutorial: only English must be spoken, even in the break! Sometimes. when you’re the only non-Spanish-speaking person in a group, you can easily feel left out. But of course in the hallway or at the school entrance, you get to hear every kind of language. Since a lot of students are German, I also get to hear/ understand a lot of conversation in German too. I have heard from my friend that sometimes, when a group has a German majority and the tutor is also German, they even explain things in English AND in German, which is very annoying for non- German- speaking students. Continue reading “Dutch & English”

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