• Sami Bakaitis

I booked a one-way flight to Bologna during a pandemic

First, I would like to apologise for not posting on a weekly basis. I know I said I would but my 3rd year at university was not what I expected it to be.

Here is a bit about myself before I tell you why I'm flying away this Sunday.

My (new) name is Sami Bakaitis (mothers maiden name) and I am currently a 3rd-year student at the University of Kent studying Classical Archaeology with Italian studies. Since I'm a language student I should be doing my year abroad right now, but due to the (dare I say it) COVID situation, I decided it would be best for me to stay put.

However, it is now mid-October and I made a decision to book a one-way flight to Bologna in perhaps the most unstable time to travel in. You are probably thinking, what are you doing Sami??? And to that, I answer immersion: that is why I'm risking my health and safety to fly across Europe and improve my language skills.

Immersion, in my opinion, is the only way to truly master a language. Without any actual conversations with real natives, it is quite hard to say that you can speak the language. The whole point of a year abroad is to immerse yourself for a year before you begin the dreaded C1 exam.

But COVID-19 had a different plan for me.

After multiple pointless zoom calls with my department, they had decided that it was not safe for Erasmus students to travel to Italy, therefore, we must partake in a virtual year abroad. A virtual year abroad is the opposite of what I wanted, immersion.

A month into my virtual year and I feel like I'm in the abyss where I can't do anything but struggle and sink further. Professors were hard to understand due to the speed at which they spoke at, textbooks were only available to purchase or borrow in Italy and 9 am lectures became 8 am lectures :(

I said enough is enough and booked a £10 one-way flight to Bologna.

After speaking with my Italian friend Stefano, who was briefly mentioned in a previous blog, we agreed that it would be best for me to stay at his apartment in Bologna.

So, that's it! You are up-to-date with my Covid journey. Please feel free to write about how you are dealing with school or work right now in the current situation. Talking about it releases a lot of the pressure and anxiety that is pent up and you might feel a whole lot better when you realise you are not alone!

All I know now is that I will be picked up by Stefano on a scooter. Let the adventure begin...

I will keep you posted throughout my journey with some vlogs and continue to write on my blog. In the meantime feel free to look around my website! There have been a few redesigns and it's great to look back on useful information so it always stays with you.


Have a productive week

The Productive Pilgrim


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