European cultural heritage
Erasmus to Italy
The trip we had to Italy was one of the greatest opportunities I have ever had to learn about other European cultures and traditions. The Erasmus experience could bring us together as a community with the Italian peers and with my own classmates too, which turned into an educative, delighted and useful adventure.
We had the chance to experience Italian daily habits and culture through living with our host families, which impacted us in the greatest way. One of the many habits I have learned was about their eating habits, for instance families in that area eat sweets for breakfast and many small portions of different dishes. The most surprising everyday life experience was definitely their education-system, such as the fact that Italian high school students leave school at 1 pm, have lunch at home and have school on saturday, which differs completely from the Hungarian school-system and its habits. The host families also proved that people are very lovely, generous, caring and selfless, which helped us to have the greatest experience possible.
Not only were we lucky enough to meet our host families, but we also visited several places with our Italian peers and their teachers, such as castles, churches, the coast of the sea, old towns and hidden theaters. For me, the most memorable places were definitely the Castel del Monte, the bridge and coast of Polignano a Mare and the mostly closed theater of Lucera. We got to know the most fascinating facts about Castel del Monte and our tour guide there, who told us that no one knows why the castle was built in an octagon shape and what was its aim. The only justified theory they have is that it was built when Frederick the second was the Holy-Roman E - Hildesheimperor. The kind of performance style and the depth of knowledge that the tour guide had helped us to have the greatest experience of visiting the castle. I loved the Castle the most, among the Lucera theater, because of the mystery around it and the way that its architecture was impressive and aesthetically pleasing. Italy offers several breathtaking landscapes and natural environments, however, for me, when we were able to see the sea made me the happiest due to my endless passion for the sea and mediterranean coastlines.
I have always considered myself as an open-minded and curious person, however this trip has helped me to have an even more different perspective on Italian culture and to avoid any kind of stereotypes, which are false and widespread about Italian culture and people. The actual experience and spending time with families is something which will never even come close to ‘just’ spending vacation there, because we can learn the actual habits and traditions with native families. I became a more educated or culturally more diverse individual who can adapt some of these traditions or just have a clearer image about other colorful European countries. The knowledge, the memories and the whole experience I had the chance to live through with my lovely class is something which will definitely stay with me forever.
I can confidently say that last December's trip to Italy, Lucera was a one-of-a-kind experience for everyone. From the Castel del Monte to the Amphitheatre and the spectacular seaside of Trani, everyone could find a sight to find joy in. I cannot leave Alberobello out of this list, the town which not only looked heavenly due to its cone toppings that reminded me of meringues, but also because of the calmness and peacefulness that surrounded us there.
The Giuseppe Garibaldi theater was built in 1837 and has been entertaining the people of Lucera ever since. Even though it had probably been renovated numerous times, I could still feel the atmosphere and the amusement people must have felt during a performance. My favourite part was undeniably the magnificent vault that covered the entire ceiling, creating even more warmth with its subtle colour palette.
The experience I enjoyed the most was the tour in a family-owned Mozzarella factory. Not only did I get an insight into how cheese is made, which is one of my favourite types of food, but also into how a family is able to work together for decades to provide something good to the small community they were living in. I can remember this heartfelt experience still to this day because of how rare and unique such a profession is.
Italian culture was already admired by me and this trip just furthered my amazement and appreciation for the values the nation is still able to hold after thousands of years. Fortunately, my lack of knowledge on Italian standards also changed and it was interesting to see how misleading stereotypes can be. For example, how even though Italians have always been portrayed as a tempered and loud nation, the family who took care of me were the total opposite to these judgments. Their thoughtfulness and graciousness not only made the whole experience better, but it also opened my eyes in a sense that we should see more and more from the world to not only expand our knowledge, but to become better human beings.