My Erasmus started almost by chance .. trying to fill out the request and without really believing in it. And then, before I knew it, it all started, really.
The choice of Macedonia as the host location was dictated by curiosity and the opportunity to visit a state that is not among the usual travel itineraries, and honestly, I was pleasantly surprised! The first thing that struck me was Macedonian hospitality, which makes you feel immediately at home. I must say that I was a little scared about the language problem, with the fear of not understanding and not making myself understood, but in Macedonia everyone speaks English very well, so communicating has always been very easy!
As for the study program, it took a while to settle down, but with the help of the buddies, Stefan in particular, we took control of the situation and we were put in contact with the reference professors, who were immediately available and helpful. We had the opportunity to attend clinical practice and learn about different realities and ways of approaching the patient, compared to what we are used to see in Italy. In addition, the presence of American doctors has provided us with another point of view, which continues today, as we have kept in touch and continue to discuss clinical cases through the new digital platforms that have become so famous because of the lockdown.
Also, from this point of view I was given the opportunity to return to Italy by continuing the Erasmus program remotely, but I preferred to stay here in Macedonia, where I always felt safe.
What enriched me most of this experience was the opportunity to meet fantastic people, so equal and at the same time so different from me, with whom I will definitely keep in touch. People who, from all points of view, were immediately available to help and share. Even moments of personal life! It is not unusual to find yourself invited to a family barbecue, even if you know each other for a short time .. and the feeling after a Skopsko beer shared in company is to always know each other, because in the end we are really very similar cultures .. we love food (good food! You MUST try Stipska pastramailja, burek, ajvar and all the kind of grilled meat!) and its sharing in joy.
Last but not least, the Erasmus community ... made up of boys and girls who share your initial fears and who, together with you, manage to make them strong points. Thanks to the meetings organized by the university we got to know each other and get to know our cultures, our typical foods, our "dances" and therefore our laughs .. there were unique moments, trips to discover Ohrid, Skopje, Matka Canyon and trekking routes .. and evenings at home full of that kind of fun that needs nothing but chatter and games. Happier and lesser moments, which have created bonds that will surely last over time. And obviously a network of reciprocal invitations has been created that embraces a large part of the world .. in which sooner or later we will meet again!
I really recommend everyone to do it .. You start alone .. but you go back full of friends, flavors, places, adventures. And surely knowing more about yourself too.
University of Pisa - Italy