Today we interview Carlo, a 22-year-old Italian student who chose to leave for Lisbon with the Erasmus program during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: Hi Carlo? How are you? Tell us something about you… in which university are you formally enrolled? Where did you choose to go? And why there?
A: Hi everyone! My name is Carlo and I attended the first year of my master’s degree at the LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome, faculty of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE). Right now I am in Portugal, in Lisbon and I attend the NOVA university, where I am majoring in Management.
I chose this city because of the importance and the value that this university has in the business field, but also because after spending six months in exchange in Russia, I felt that Lisbon was the place for me.
Q: Which type of documents did you had to fill out before leaving?
A: In order to take part in the Erasmus program, they asked me for: a statement of awareness and compliance (a consent form in which I had to state that I take full responsibility regarding my choice to partake in the Erasmus), a copy of my ID card or my passport, the bachelor’s degree certificate, a motivational letter in which I explained why I want to leave and then, a voluntary or working experience certificate (optionally).
Q: What was the situation in your host country before you left?
A: I left for Portugal last summer, in August 2020, and I had to make a choice. For the major I had also applied for admission at the Bocconi University in Milan, but despite the health emergency I decided to stay at LUISS and start my Erasmus experience in Lisbon. Last summer, in Italy as in the rest of Europe, the pandemic got better, so the situation I found when I arrived here was very calm.
Q:: Why did you choose to leave anyway? How did your university handle Erasmus mobility during the pandemic?
A: I chose to leave anyway because the NOVA university gave me the green light to do so. I knew that Lisbon was not in lockdown and I knew that I could attend classes in presence, as I still do now. We respect the anti-contagion rules too and we are very careful. Moreover, the classes are halved and only 50% of the students can attend at a time, but everything here is very serene.
Q: Would you do it again or would you wait? And why?
A: Yes, I would do it again for sure. Living in a different country, with a different culture, a different language, far from my family and Italy, having to adapt, regardless of the country you go to, is a great experience. Going in Erasmus has left its mark on my life, it is an all-round experience. A sort of “other life”. I went away alone, I left for six months and I had some dark moments, but it is a formative experience that helps you to grow, and you do not have to be afraid. I am very happy to have left, although in a health emergency, and to be honest I am already planning my next trip, but this time it will be outside the European Union.