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Year abroad blog: a brief summary of my first month in Italy!

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Leeds chapter.

So I moved to Bergamo about a month ago now (to those of you who don’t know, because I didn’t either, Bergamo is a beautiful place about 50 minutes by train from Milan in Italy) and it is going ridiculously quickly. 

(Enjoying a gelato in Lake Como!)

To be honest, I had reservations about living in Bergamo when I visited over summer. My mum and I came to visit in August and I was terrified at the idea of living somewhere so small. Having loved life in Leeds for two years and coming from London, it just seemed like I was going to have nothing to do. There were even some tears (bit dramatic, I guess) on the first night I stayed, and I mentally prepared myself for the worst…

But luckily, it has surpassed all my expectations so far. To all those thinking of going on a year abroad next year/in the future, I hope that my blog will encourage you that all the paperwork, the stress and the deadlines are 1000% worth it because, without a doubt, it is the most unbelievable experience.


(Meeting other students on a treasure hunt in Città Alta)

So, back to Bergamo. Bergamo is broken up in to two parts: Città Alta (the old town) and Città Bassa (the new town, where most of the shops are). Città Alta is very picturesque and old-world: all the streets are cobbled and with lots of small little restaurants and just as many gelaterias to choose from. I live in between both towns so my daily commute to university is a ten minute walk to the funicolare (cable car), which I then get up to Città Alta for university, usually grabbing a brioche or an ice cream on the way to lectures. I feel incredibly lucky to say that this is my view every day on the way to university:

I think the best bits of my year abroad so far have been meeting new people and traveling. I met my flat-mates a few days after I arrived in Bergamo and, despite some thorough (standard) Facebook stalking, I was pretty worried about who I was going to be living with for the first semester of my year. And I was right to be worried; every day I get ripped for my Southern accent by two very Northern lads!


(My flat-mates and me)

Luckily, like most of the people I’ve met, I get on really well with them. We’ve made some really great friends from all over the world, some of whom are: Australian, Deutsch, Croatian, French, Spanish, Italian and also one lovely American girl. Nightlife here is so different to Leeds, but also much better than I’d anticipated. Erasmus students are a bit like a massively dysfunctional, multi-cultural family, and every night you go out you know most people and end up chatting to everyone and anyone. I’ve had some hilarious nights out so far, probably the best one being in what looked like a tennis club hall, so expect the unexpected on nights out on your year abroad!

(On a night out last week with some other Erasmus friends)

(Lake Como trip group picture)


The nights out are organized by the two associations for Erasmus students: ESN and Aegee. They are probably the ones who have made it so easy for us to meet new people, as well as throwing in a few cheap drinks along the way! The societies also organize trips, one of them being a trip to Lake Como which was absolutely incredible. I was so happy to get a glimpse of the town George Clooney loves so much. Sadly it was bad timing, because we went a week after George’s wedding so we didn’t see the silver fox himself, but I feel that bit closer to him now after the visit…

(Lake Como, perfect place for a Clooney stalk)


I also visited Genova recently. As you may have heard, Genova was struck a few weeks ago by some pretty devastating flooding, which left many struggling to cope as their homes and business’ were ruined by what was seen to be one of the worst tragedies ever to hit the city. My friends and I booked to go to Genova the same weekend after the flooding occurred and, whilst we expected the worst, we were incredibly surprised to find it looked unaffected initially. It was only when we went further in to the city that we noticed the bottom half of the town had been massively affected; shopkeepers were brushing water and mud from their shops, and others were sweeping rubble away. It was hard to watch, but it was also heartwarming to witness so many young locals walk past wearing wellies and covered in mud who were/had been putting all their energy in to fixing their city, which they had done a remarkable job of only two days after the tragedy. I enjoyed my visit to Genova, despite the very bad timing, because the buildings were stunning to look at and I was in very good company, and I would definitely recommend anyone to visit and also to try the pesto (because it originates from Genova and is AMAZING).


(Genova old town)

I’m quite excited for my plans to come in the coming weeks, with a few trips planned and a few to plan, as well as planning my flat-mates early 21st this week! I will keep you posted on all things Italian, so CIAO for now!

Ella Duffy

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My name is Ella Duffy, I'm 22 years old and a recent graduate from the University of Leeds. Proudly once was co-president for Her Campus Leeds!