Christmas has been and gone, I can hardely believe it! Already I have been in this wonderful city and country for over three months and I recently decided to extend my stay until June.
I am currently working as an English teacher at two different schools in Bologna (My English School and British Institute). I really am learning so much, I have never taught in this formal way before, so the learning curve is quite steep but I am thoroughly enjoying the challenge and I really feel to be excelling in my role and am grateful for the opportunity.
At the same time I am studying, with a focus on agricultural and welfare policy at the agrarian department. The Bologna University Agrarian is truly amazing and they’re doing great work in promoting sustainable agriculture and reducing food waste – they set up a national scheme called lastminutemarket.com and are also a key part of the slow-food-movement, and EaTLY. I am writing my thesis in collaboration with the department, and the Professor Matteo Vittuari, I am so happy to have found a departmnet full of experts in this field, and with so much passion and energy to guide and direct my research.
Bologna holds so many treasures and offers such a dynamic way of living. I am currently getting involved in several projects, the first at a newly set up homeless/ refugee centre in an occupied building, called Labas. Another, I am hoping to start collaborating with art students in the city to organise a fundraiser for refugees in Lesvos.
I have been visited by SO many friends here in Italy, it’s rather overwhelming. Almost every weekend someone is popping by to experience a little bit of the great weather, beautiful history and incomparable culture (and FOOD OF COURSE!). I have had the good fortune of visiting quite a bit of Italy so far: Venice, lake Garda, Milan, Turin, Modena and the list will continue to grow over the next few months!
Italy, despite being a very progressive country – and full of positive points – for me also had some unexpected drawbacks. For example, misogony in this country is rather rife. As a woman I have felt at times rather shocked at the treatment I have received, and the way men treat women. Bureaucracy (and to some extent corruption) is also rather apparenty in Italy, the ‘hussler’ life is something I have observed on a daily occassion, and people arent exactly trusting of eachother. Despite this points however, I am having a truly wonderful experience, meeting great people and forming strong friendships.
In a couple of weeks, I will go to a farm in the South of Italy to conduct field work for my thesis.