di Léon van de Pol *

From September till December 2015 I studied at Università Cattolica in Cremona. Together with a French guy we were the only Erasmus students, but there were multiple international students in the first and the second year coming from Russia, Iran, South-America and Eastern-Europe. I decided to follow both first and second year courses so I could meet more people and get a broader orientation on the Master in Agricultural and Food Economics. The University building in Cremona is an old hospital and the university is only located on the third floor. Classrooms were small and we were about 35 students for each class, so it was easy to approach the professors and we always had lectures in the same room, making me feel like high school again.

I lived in the city centre close to the train station of Cremona. During the first month I decided to go to university on foot (about 30 minutes), but afterwards I used a cheap bike and cycled. I lived together with one of my Italian class mates from the first year and it was a good experience for him to speak English with me and for me to try speaking Italian with him.

I was able to finish all my exams before Christmas, because the professors are very flexible in providing you options to do the exams. If you are interested in the topic of agricultural and food economics, I would recommend this university to everybody, even though Cremona has not a big nightlife.

Outside the university I had a great time hanging out with mainly my Italian class mates. I decided to follow an Italian language course and Italian friends really appreciated it when I tried to speak Italian. Especially during the first weeks there was a lot of free time because there were not many assignments or homework to do. Italian students come from different regions and are very proud of their regional food and beverages. Almost every Saturday we had dinner together with around 10 people who mainly came from the Southern regions and it was a great experience to see how Italian people love food and like to share their homemade products such as chicken and pork meat, olive oil and cheese.

Not to mention the Aperitivo. Before dinner it is usual to take a drink together. We normally drank our beers at Lex Birreria, a traditional pub with different special beers in the city centre of Cremona. With Aperitivo, we normally got some finger food for free, which really surprised me. I often played 5 vs. 5 football (first versus the second year students) on a small football field on Mondays. While in the first months I started to sweat immediately because of the wonderful weather, in the next ones I discovered the fog, which is so thick in Cremona that some days you cannot see the sun!

Outside Cremona, I visited some beautiful cities such as Bologna, Milan, Verona and Mantua which historical centres are all worth visiting. I also watched Inter – As Roma. I had a wonderful time here in Cremona which flew by very quickly.

*20 years old, Erasmus+Program, a.y.2015/2016 (Fall semester) - Cremona. Master Management, Economics and Comsumer studies at Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands