Madda Zuntini is a student from Libera Università di Bolzano – Freie Universität Bozen. She came to Esslingen University in winter semester 2022/23 for an exchange semester and attended classes of the Bachelor of Childhood Education with most of her classes being held at Hilltop Campus in Esslingen.
My stay abroad in five words:
- GROWTH: my study abroad experience has allowed me to grow personally, educationally, and professionally.
- FRIENDSHIP: During my time in Germany, I made very strong connections with people I never thought I would meet in my life, people of different ages, cultures, and ethnic groups, who like me found themselves thrown into a new world. These people became a second family for me.
- FUN: Countless activities, events, nights out, as well as the several study sessions shared with my fellow colleagues that I will always carry in my heart.
- MULTICULTURALISM: Meeting people from all over the world and coming in contact with various cultures. It is very interesting to learn about these differences, feel closer and try to get acquainted with them.
- ENTHUSIASM: I believe it is a fundamental aspect of my character to do everything with a lot of energy and passion. This enabled me to enjoy every experience to the fullest while discovering new things and viewing the beauty in everything I was doing. I came back to Italy with even greater enthusiasm and an irrepressible desire to go on my next adventure.
Deciding for Germany/Esslingen:
The best way to learn a foreign language is to live in a country where it is the official spoken language. I chose Germany because German culture and language have always fascinated me. I come from Trentino Alto Adige, the northernmost region of Italy that borders Austria, and I attend a trilingual university (Italian, German, and English). German in my area is being taught since childhood and is also spoken in standard German or dialect form by the locals. For my professional future, this experience is beneficial with a view to bilingual education. What I liked most about my studies in Esslingen was the possibility of having German and English classes and being integrated into a course with no difference from ordinary students.
During my stay in Esslingen, I attended the university's German course for level B2, and I am thrilled and pleased with the results. There is always room for improvement in everything, and German has taken and will take a big part in my life educationally and professionally.
My biggest worries before coming to Germany:
Living for an extended period abroad implies leaving family and friends far away and jumping into something new without knowing anything or anyone. My biggest fear before leaving was that my life here in Italy would have been turned upside down. My worries became a reality, but this experience gave my life a positive turn and allowed me to grow, get to know myself better, and become a better person.
The most beautiful experiences during my exchange semester:
I have lived so many experiences that it is impossible to choose just one. Referring to events held by the university, I enjoyed all the excursions in the area. I went to Heidelberg, where I visited the city center and the renowned castle with a breath-taking view. Tübingen was my second destination, and there I saw the ChocolArt festival, which brings together master chocolatiers from all over Europe. From the events organized in Esslingen, I appreciated the Volksfest in Bad Cannstatt; this allowed me to live with German culture from the beginning. I also visited the characteristic Christmas medieval market during Christmas, which shows traditions and historical representations. With my friends, we then went to France and Finnish Lapland.
What I also like to say (to future incoming students at Esslingen University):
Have fun! Take each opportunity to get to know people, speak a foreign language, whichever it is, try traditional food, and do things you might not do in your ordinary life that give you satisfaction. Explore, change, grow, and be open-minded and open-hearted. One thing I can confirm about this experience is that you cry twice: the moment you arrive and leave. Trust me; it will be worth it!