In June 2019 I set off to fly across the world to Italy to continue my studies of Italian Language and culture through the UTS BUILD winter program. This intense three-week language and culture course at the University of Bologna allowed me to expand my knowledge of the Italian language in such a short amount of time and immersed me within the culture of the city.
I set off from Sydney three weeks before the commencement of the course to go visit my family who live in Italy. After spending my time travelling around Italy with my relatives I caught the train to Bologna, where I met up with my friend from UTS who I was sharing an apartment with for the duration of the course.
The next morning was the first day of classes, kicking off with a speaking assessment to judge what level of Italian we already had. The first week of classes flew by and the next thing I knew it was our first weekend in Bologna. In true Italian style, my class decided to head out on the Friday night for some traditional Bolognese food; tagliatelle with ragù, mortadella and tortellini.
After sampling the food, wine and gelato and listening to some music across town it was time to start the second week. Although the intensity of the course was sometimes a little overwhelming, the fast pace of the learning allowed me to gain the most amount of knowledge possible in the short amount of time. One of the cultural activities we did during this week was my favourite by far: a traditional cooking class. As a class we made tortelloni (big tortellini) with ricotta, a salad with veal and a panna cotta with caramel.
Before I knew it the last week of the course had arrived and it was time to start studying for the final exam and making the most of the last few days before university in Australia started again. Making the most of the summer warmth, I spent my last days studying in the park and soaking up the sun. Unlike parks in Sydney, the park was filled with people playing soccer, basketball, frisbee, tightrope walking and juggling, with strangers encouraging me to give them all a try.
The last day of class quickly approached and it was time to say goodbye to everyone I had met. We went out in traditional student style watching a band play in one of the many parks of the city on our last night. After many hugs it was time to pack up and leave and head back to Australia. Although I was only in Bologna for a short amount of time, my experiences in this wonderful city improved my Italian language skills to a new level and I now have more cultural awareness of Italian customs and traditions.