Student Stories

Bella Italia - The Exchange semester to remember

February 29th, 2020

By Denis Smajic


You are rich in how many people you meet and know, how much knowledge you gain and have and how many cities you visit! This is the way I have been trying to become and be rich all my life.

In 2018, while I was studying Biology and Genetics at the University of Sarajevo, I had the opportunity to participate in a student exchange project. Until that moment, the idea of ​​going somewhere out of the country was, to me, a dream, both because of the financial situation and the tense and dense faculty schedule. But the whole situation has completely changed when I applied for a one-semester student exchange in Milan, Italy as part of the Erasmus+ mobility project and finally, together with a few friends, got selected! At that moment, I had feelings of sap and disbelief mixed up, but also happiness and joy, because at last, my dreams were coming true.

Preparation for Milan was "sweet anguish" how we say it in Bosnia, because of how difficult and demanding they were, and just one of the examples was finding the accommodation. When everything was ready, our journey to Milan begun.

We arrived in Milan on February 8th, very late, after a long and exhausting bus journey from Sarajevo. The first couple of days were a kind of acclimatization to a whole new culture and a different lifestyle, that was present in Italy and which I clicked with immediately. One of the benefits of participating in Erasmus+ exchange projects is the fact that during the exchange you have the opportunity, that is, the obligation to attend the college of your choice, and most of these are colleges that are at an extremely better and enviable level than the colleges you attend in your home country. It was the same situation in my case. I had the opportunity to attend Medical Faculty at the University of Milan and I could talk for days about the extraordinary time I had there.

Since I studied genetics, which is considered to be the science of the future, it is very important to keep up with the trends in science. The Faculty of Milan is the leader and standard followed by many other research centres and colleges around the world! We were able to listen to lectures of renowned professors and to apply in practice knowledge gained in the laboratories of a world-class research centre.

At the same time, the exchange in Milan allowed me to get to know a whole new culture, a culture that until then was only fiction to me. The culture of another country can be learned both by getting to know different cities and their history, architecture, nature, food and especially by getting to know people. During the exchange, I was able to explore the whole city of Milan and the surrounding smaller towns and places like Lake Como, Maggiore and Garda, which completely delighted me with their peaceful and relaxed lifestyle.

Also, I managed to visit several other Italian cities, from which I would single out Genoa, 5 small villages called Cinque Terre and the cities on the island of Sicily. Through all these trips, through attending classes and simply staying in Milan, I have been able to meet many people from both Italy and different parts of the world.

It is impossible to describe how happy a person can be when he has the opportunity to make friends and share the experience with people from different parts of the world; simply, such events remain always remembered.

I tell everyone, and I honestly think that my short period of living in Italy is probably the best period of my life so far and that there is no way I can forget about it. I strongly recommend to everyone if they have the opportunity to sign up for exchanges of a similar character - they really will not regret it.

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