#TheExchange Week 1: Ciao, Trento!
written by myrra kate
It still feels surreal.
Everything hasn’t sunk into me yet honestly. That I am here. In another part of the world. Meeting new people. Learning a new language and a different culture. Adapting to new weather and time zone. Eating (and cooking) food that I usually don’t eat back home. Living in an apartment with an Italian roommate. Gaining new experiences with people from various countries. Studying communication in a different university and department other than my own in the Philippines.
A year ago, I never did imagine this would happen. I was so focused on graduating on time so that I could finally work and then, earn money. Then, give back to my family and the country. Then, reach my dreams. It’s like a process I knew I had to take just to achieve the things I wished I could.
But then came the new year – 2017. Apart from letting go of someone special who I realized was becoming toxic in my life, I knew I had to turn my life upside down. I yearned for a huge change in my life even if, by that time, I still didn’t know what it is that I want and how I could do it. I was clueless but determined. Somehow, that was enough for me.
Days before the new year came, though, I started reading Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I came across this line that literally changed everything for me:
“I am here on earth for just a little while.” – Psalm 119:19
It was like a snap right on my face. The line was awfully true. Even if we deny it for so many times, indeed, all we have is now. I knew that I should stop waiting anymore. My dreams wouldn’t just come and happen to me because I wanted them so bad; I had to make them happen myself. As I surrender everything in God’s will, with this line and some hope in mind, I became a little braver to step out of my horizons.
Fast forward and skipping the exhausting but worthwhile process of applying for an exchange program and the preparations and requirements that came as I got accepted, I’m finally here – in a small town named Trento, north of Italy, almost 6400 miles away from home.
My university back at home, the University of the Philippines, has a bilateral agreement with the University of Trento, the university I will be studying in for one semester. I originally applied for the Utrecht University in the Netherlands but I guess, there was a reason I am accepted here instead. I am going to study communication courses in the Department of Sociology for six months. This and the fact that I haven’t legitimately studied for more than three months excite me because, finally, I get to learn and study formally again.
Just this week, I arrived here from connecting flights from Manila-Hongkong-Germany-Verona (yes, it’s a long and tiring trip indeed, and yes, expect for some blog posts about this adventure soon). After two days and two nights in Verona, my co-exchange student, Earl, and I literally had to drag our luggage from our hotel in Verona to the train we rode to Trento and then, from Trento’s train station to the accommodation office. We were welcomed by two kind ladies who assisted us as we arrived. Because I still lived in the city center, I had to go down the hill again and ride a bus going to my apartment. It was a really tiring experience but I have Earl to thank for helping me with my bags.
(Comment down below if you think I should post a room tour of my apartment.)
The next days after we arrive were basically preoccupied with a welcome session with the mobility office, enrollment processes, taking care of some other requirements here like a stay permit and thinking of what to eat. Lol, rice isn’t served in restos here but Earl and I still cook one every now and then.
Thankfully, the week ended with a blast as we had our faculty tour and welcome drink where I met a bunch of lovely people from all over the world – Brazil, Japan, China, Poland, Holland, Czech Republic, America, Germany, you name it. It’s absolutely thrilling to talk with them, with or without language barriers, and actually, drink with them. Yep, I guess that’s the Italian way of hanging out – drinking Spritz, Hugo, or beer in some bar across some piazza. I had so much fun that day though!
And then, on Saturday, I went to experience the cable car in the Funivia Trento-Sardagna with some of the exchange students I met the day before. The view was just downright breathtaking. I felt so little from the world I’m standing on but so blessed to be standing on it. We also walked around the village on the top of the mountain and found a nice supermarket to buy some snacks at.
Now, I’m not so bothered by the fact that I’ll be delayed for one year though. Or by the fact that I’m not going to graduate at the same time as my batchmates. It’s alright. This is a detour I’m never going to regret. I’m done believing that I have to religiously follow the process in order to succeed. I can be happy now. I can be successful now. I can make my dreams happen to me now.
Always keep in mind this question (that has been circulating in tumblr), loves:
If not now, then when? If not me, then who?
That is it for this week! Stay tuned for my future posts so you can go with me as I embark on this journey. I’m excited to tell you more of my stories!
Are you interested to go on exchange as well? What do you want to know? Comment down below what tips or posts you want me to write about next!
I'm Myrra Kate!
I help female entrepreneurs scale their income and impact by launching transformational online courses so they can stop trading time for money and have more freedom.
The 4-step framework to
scaling your business and
making more income & impact