Meet Giulia from Italy
Name: Giulia Cornacchia
Home Country and City: Faenza, Italy
Home University: Bologna University
Programme (or major subject) of Study: Sociology
Favourite thing about Umeå University: the mix of cultures
Favourite Swedish word or custom: fika
Three words to summarise your time in Umeå: different, fun and unforgettable
Why did you choose to study at Umeå University?
I chose Umeå because it was something totally different from my country, the culture, the weather and the university organization. Since I am studying sociology I also wanted to experience how the Swedish Welfare State Model works. A friend of mine studied at Umeå University last year and when I was talking to her she was so excited about her experience that I knew there was no better place to go. Now, after eight months, I can understand how she feels. Coming here was one of the best decisions I\'ve ever made.
What do you like most about your programme or courses?
Something that completely surprised me is the interactive relationship between teachers and students and the relaxed atmosphere in class. Your personal participation plays a very important role during the lectures and the seminars, and your opinion is always taken into account. For me that was something completely new.
What do you do when you are not studying?
When I\'m not studying I usually go to IKSU. It\'s a great place for people like me who love sports. You can go there alone or with friends, organize a beach-volleyball match or go swimming. This sport centre offers activities for everyone. Furthermore, during my free time I hang out with my friends, especially during the weekends when there are a lot of parties.
What has been your most memorable moment so far?
To answer this question I would need an entire page, but since you asked me for the most memorable, I will say the first time I saw the northern lights at the lake. It was something I will never forget!
What is your impression of Umeå and the surrounding areas?
Umeå is a nice city, surrounded by beautiful nature. The landscape is perfect to relax. A place that I really like is the lake and its magical atmosphere. When the snow arrives, the city completely changes and it seems like an "enchanted village".
What do you find as the biggest cultural difference, both socially and educationally, from your country with Sweden?
A comparison between Sweden and Italy? Well, there are of course a lot of differences. From my point of view the biggest cultural difference is in the behaviour of people in particular when they get in contact with someone new. Here the people are more reserved and discrete and sometimes a bit shy compared to Italy. Educationally, the Swedish system is modern and efficient, the structures are suitable and cosy and the teachers are friendly with the students. Italy on the other hand, has a different and old system. Something we should really improve is the implementation of courses taught in English.
What you would say or what advice would you give to another international student thinking of attending Umeå University?
I would recommend this University to everyone. It has an excellent organization and perfect structures. The campus is a beautiful place and with the snow it has a special charm. But be prepared, the winter time is hard!
What are your career aspirations?
After this experience I realized how many things I still have to learn about other cultures and ways of life. Since I’m studying sociology, I want to improve my knowledge about welfare state systems. The Swedish one has been an absolutely perfect start.