My name is Imani and I’m a third year Psychology student on placement in Italy (Milan). If you would have told me when I was in high school that I would be in Milan working with Italian professors on real life studies and contributing to them I 100% would have never believed you!
My main work revolves around having meetings and doing reading on the topic of social exclusion and more specifically with refugees in Italy. I’d been to Italy before but never Milan and never having lived in a city I’m quite happy to say that my experience in this one (so far) has been nothing but good!
But it’s not always sunshine and rainbows, like life, moving to another country to work has its ups and down.
Born and grown up in Spain, moving to England for University has thankfully prepared me for moving to another country for my placement. I was used to living away from home for long periods of time so I wasn’t overly worried about moving to another one.
However, although understanding (and slowly getting there…bit by bit) the Italian language, I cannot currently speak it fluently and understanding the basics is very different to listening to and interacting with native-speakers. I found this to be my first barrier when arriving here, and it occasionally makes me feel isolated from others I work with. BUT, as I do with most things in life (and as a pro tip I suggest you try the same), I suck it up and am doing my best to learn the language, ask questions when I don’t understand and just be thankful that I have this opportunity to be in another country in the first place!
In terms of social life, there is a lot to do here, being a city that’s what I expected, so weekends are always filled with places to visit, clubs to go to and new events to attend. I’ve met a lot of amazing people on Erasmus and only about 4 students from the UK! I love that being on placement can allow you to discover other cultures and other people from all over the world, it’s definitely an aspect I cherish being here. Although a lot of students I have met are here studying, and so leave in the next few weeks- we shall have to see how my friendships develop and change when the new flow of students come in.
So as you can see, there are ups and down, right now all I can say is it’s sunny, (albeit cold) and I’m currently working on lots of analysis (we all know how much statistics excites psychology students) for a big study we are working on, what next month will bring? Who knows!