When I think about the months before leaving for Cracow, I can remember a period when maybe I was few more than a teenager, at least talking about mentality. Then my childhood and teenage dream comes again in my mind: living to work or study abroad.
For various reasons, I was attending university in my home region, in Termoli. But the will of get out of my home village was strong, so I decided to apply for the Erasmus. It was May 2016 and I applied together with my then girlfriend.
We, rather I, decided for a country that was not one among the usual Spain, France or UK, and, attracted by the low cost of life, we finally chose Poland. Cracow looked perfect: the local university was in good relations with our university and one girl from there also came in Erasmus in Termoli, so she could help us. My knowledge about Poland was bad: I only was aware of a growing country and with a cold winter.
We left, we arrived and soon I started to like it. Typical Eastern Europe environment, cold weather and snow on the ground. Incomprehensible and unreadable words combined with architectures that looked more Russian than Western. Moreover, the contrast with the western world and a recent and fast development.
I started to attend the classes, including a Polish course (as extra credits) and maybe it was then when the light was turned on: sounds that were hard and hateful for everyone looked adorable to me. It was so different from the Latin derived languages and that’s what I liked the most. I still love the Polish accent today, after having learned how to read and write in Polish.
I started also to meet new friends, mostly other Erasmus students or Ukrainian students attending the courses in English. Cracow then started to look more and more warming and welcoming, a young beautiful city with the Eastern Europe soul that always fascinated me. the cold weather somehow turned into warm weather between February and March and so Cracow became even more fascinating, with the bright lights in Ulica Floriańska and the sense of peace inside and outside the Old Town.
My Erasmus was an increasing love for the city, the parties were always more and the best came with Juwenalia: three days in May when the students take possession of the city. Happiness, sense of wellness, peace and fun were always increasing and so the will to discover even more of the country. And that’s what I did: I would visit more cities and the end of the Erasmus and the love for Cracow only became the icing on the cake of a bigger love: the love for Poland.
I discovered a country wounded by history that more and more times has risen from its ashes, a country that is strongly tied to its culture and traditions but that also wants to adapt to modern times. I discovered the mentality of people from different countries and I realized that every country is like your village. I discovered a wonderful and welcoming country, that is in my heart since then and I also miss so much. I discovered Poland. And since then kocham Polskę.
A cura di: Angelo Panicciari
Immagine di copertina: Public Domain Pictures, Pixabay.
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