Oleksandra Fedotova, a Master's student in Translation and Interpreting (Italian) from the Mariupol State University, studied at the University for Foreigners in Siena for three months. Participation in the internship was possible thanks to a scholarship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Italian Republic for winning the Ukrainian Student Olympiad in Italian.
The girl has already visited the colorful country of Southern Europe to get acquainted with the history and culture, as well as to improve her knowledge of Italian. However, this time the trip was significantly different from the previous ones, because of the quarantine restrictions.
Upon arrival in Italy, Oleksandra underwent a mandatory 14-day self-isolation, so for the first two weeks the girl studied online. The MSU student was enrolled in a group with a high level of Italian language proficiency (C1). According to Oleksandra, she was very lucky to be the only one in the group where she had four hours per week of individual lessons with native speakers.
After completing the self-isolation, the girl was able to go to university with other students. Oleksandra met and made friends with young people from Thailand, China, South Korea, Iran, Poland, Brazil, USA and many other countries. Due to the epidemiological situation, a limited number of students were able to attend classes, so there were no more than 15 of them in the entire university.
A small number of students is a huge advantage, because everyone can ask unclear grammatical points, and express an opinion by practicing oral speech, and get enough attention from teachers, who deserve a special review to be written. They are true professionals and conduct very intensive lessons. We watched movies, read the news, philosophized about the sense of life and joked a lot.
Quarantine has made its adjustments in the leisure of young people. The students tried to be careful, which prevented them from fully enjoying their stay in Italy. However, the small and cozy Siena made a pleasant impression on Oleksandra.
There were no big noisy companies, gatherings in the main square and frequent trips to nearby towns. However, the saddest point for me, there were no such important baci e abbracci (note – kisses and hugs). I could not hug anyone, not even while saying goodbye. But despite all the restrictions, we still gathered in small groups to drink coffee, eat gelato, look at the Tuscan hills or do homework in the park with the view on the Duomo.
Thanks to intensive classes in a small group and constant language practice, Oleksandra successfully passed the final test and improved her level of Italian to perfect (C2).
Despite all the difficulties, this experience can not be compared with any other, and it is impossible to describe how it feels to learn a favorite language in its "natural habitat". You just need to feel it. And if you have such an opportunity, do not be afraid and grab it with all your hands and feet. 100% will not regret it!