It’s currently too early to make a post about Post-Erasmus Syndrome and its many horrors. It is, however, the perfect time to make sweeping knee-jerk statements about what benefits await an Erasmus student returning from Italy to the UK. In a list.
1) Pubs. Well, that’s an incriminating thing to start with, isn’t it? No going back now though — it’s already written and besides, it’s true. Italy has English and Irish pubs in the same way England and Ireland have Italian restaurants. So you can take that through to its logical conclusion.
2) Meal times. Another one about food, eh? In Britain people eat when they want.
3) The library. The Università degli Studi di Torino‘s libraries just aren’t up to scratch with the David Wilson Library. And considering I understand that it is the home of final year students (knocking their actual homes to second place), it’s lucky I like it.
4) The Students’ Union. This refers to the building and the organisation. Italian universities don’t have this kind of student solidarity, or at least not in such a tangible form.
5) Chocolate without hazlenuts in. I love chocolate with hazelnuts in as much as if not more than everybody, but it shouldn’t be the default. The default chocolate should be chocolate without hazelnuts in.
6) Customer service. Perhaps because Italian people seem to always know what they want, Italian shopkeepers have little patience for people who actually want to read menus and look at selections. This is generalising, but I think on average an Italian shop is far more intimidating than a British one, even taking my own patheticness factor into account and adjusting for inflation.
7) Essays that have word counts rather than page counts. This one should also be self-explanatory.
8) Vegetarian food. I’m not vegetarian, but from the experiences of friends who are it seems like Italy is unsympathetic to say the least. The first problem arises when you see that a vegetarian Italian dish may contain fish, which is a clue to the general misunderstandings that seem to have gone on. Also many cheeses are cooked in animal stomach lining and the vast majority of any menu is meat plus cheese (plus bread (plus salt) ).
9) Houses rather than apartments. They’re quite nice, aren’t they?
10) Bureaucracy. Many Italian companies seem to regard being paid as a surprising pleasure that should be as rare as possible, others consider the postal service to be a perfect system which cannot be improved upon by the internet’s many benefits, all train stations believe enquiries of any kind to be baffling and scary, and the health care system should be avoided at all costs under penalty of death.
Still a great country though.