As part of its commitment to supporting students on their year abroad, Modern Languages & Cultures organises a series of pastoral visits across Europe. These visits, funded by the European Union through their Organisation of Mobility grant, allow members of staff from the department to travel to our partner institutions across the EU to see students on study placements, to meet with those responsible for student exchanges, and to encourage students to come to Liverpool to study for a semester or two.
Earlier this month, Dr Rosalba Biasini travelled to two partner universities in southern Italy. Her first stop was the University of Bari, situated on the Adriatic. Bari is an ancient city, famed not only for its mediaeval old city, but also for its basilica which is the final resting place for the relics of St Nicholas. Dr Biasini met Liverpool students studying in Bari who had recently enjoyed their first swim of the year in the sea. The students describe the city as welcoming and relaxed.
From Bari, Dr Biasini flew on to Palermo, on Sicily, to see students at the University of Palermo, as well as a Liverpool student on an Erasmus study placement in Padua, but visiting the island. Palermo’s overall splendour stems from its long cultural history, and the city boasts architectural styles that range from Byzantine, Gothic, and Romanesque to Baroque, Neoclassical, and Rationalist. Arab-Norman Palermo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Frederik II is buried in its Cathedral.
Students in both cities reported to Dr Biasini that they are very happy in their temporary new home cities, and are making the most of what Italy has to offer – not least in terms of its vast range of culinary opportunities. They are also adapting to new ways of living and studying. In particular, Liverpool students have been struck by the emphasis on independent learning and self-discipline.
The configuration of Italian cities – so distinct from British ones – initially posed a challenge to our students but has now given them a new outlook on life