Why did Camille choose to study abroad in Sardinia, Italy despite COVID-19?
Our student Camille from Belgium is following a semester abroad in autumn 2020 in Cagliari, Italy. In Camille’s eyes, it was the best decision to make, even during the pandemic. In this interview, she’ll give you more information about her time there and why she decided to go abroad despite covid-19.
What made you choose to go to Italy?
I chose to go to Italy because I saw so many beautiful pictures, that I just couldn’t resist. Now that I’m here, it’s even better than I expected it to be. Sardinia is such a wonderful place. Besides the environment, I wanted to learn Italian, and the best way to learn the language is to be immersed in it.
What made you choose to go to Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I decided to go during the pandemic because I’ve always promised myself to do a semester abroad whenever I have the opportunity and the pandemic isn’t going to stop me from following my plan. Of course, it’s important to follow the guidelines and to be careful, but as long as you’re following them and are being safe I don’t see why I wouldn’t go.
I also knew that I was still close to home, so if there were any problems during the semester (which luckily wasn’t the case), I would have been able to return to Belgium easily.
Was it hard to enter the country? If yes, what did you have to do?
It wasn’t hard at all. The only thing that you have to do before coming into Sardinia, is to fill in a document online (Sardegna Sicura) and to come out of the COVID-19 test with a negative result. The test has to be taken 72 hours before arriving in Italy.
Was it easy to find a place to stay during your semester?
It was super easy to find an apartment here. I went on the ‘Stanza Stemplice’ internet page and found different rooms. You can also join the ESN Cagliari Facebook group to ask if there are any rooms available and they’ll help you out.
How was the situation when you arrived in September, and how is it right now?
In the beginning, when I arrived, there weren’t any strict rules. The mask wasn’t required outside, but it was required inside. Since the beginning of November, they set a curfew between 10 pm and 5 am. The restaurants and bars close at 6 pm and the masks are required everywhere, inside and outside.
You might also be interested in: Why is it safe to study abroad in Sardinia, Italy?
How was the course set up?
My courses started on the 5th of October and were at the time face-to-face. Since the beginning of November, the University of Cagliari changed the courses to an online setup. It was a bit difficult in the beginning to follow the online course set up, but when you understand how it works, it’s easy to follow. Also, if you have any problems, you can easily contact the lecturers and they’ll reply to you very fast.
What were your expectations for this semester abroad under these circumstances?
I didn’t have any expectations for this semester abroad during the pandemic. I was just looking forward to meeting new people and to have a lot of fun with them.
What are some of your favorite activities to do in Italy?
Going to the beautiful beaches and enjoying the sea and the sun here! The last time I’ve been in the ocean was at the beginning of November. The temperatures last good for a long time here. Another activity that I enjoyed doing here was the day we rented a boat with some of my friends. It wasn’t expensive at all and we had so much fun.
What’s the difference in your daily lifestyle in Italy compared to your lifestyle in Belgium?
A big difference is that I mostly speak in English here, instead of French. Besides that, the food is so different, so I had to change some of my daily habits to get used to that. Also, I’m spending much more time outside because the weather is generally very good here.
Do you feel like Asia Exchange was approachable enough for you?
Yes, most definitely. Whenever I had a question or if I wanted to change my courses, I just sent them emails or messages through WhatsApp. They usually replied very fast to me. When I first arrived here in Cagliari, they organized a meeting with all the students from Asia Exchange in Cagliari, to give us important information but also to help us meet new people.
Do you have any more tips you would want to give other students?
Don’t hesitate to do a semester abroad, even during the pandemic! It’s an amazing experience and you’ll make a lot of new friends and experience life-changing moments in another country. Just make sure that you follow the guidelines of the country you’re in and respect the rules!
Read more: University of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tips and new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter! If you have any questions about studying abroad, feel free to contact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
This interview was conducted by our marketing intern Nadia!