A 22-year-old native of Rome, Maria Elena Consorti, came to study in Ljubljana in September 2017 under the Erasmus exchange programme. According to the student, Ljubljana has already become her second home. Today she studies on the International Relations programme at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Ljubljana.
Maria Elena arrived to study in Slovenia in September 2017. A year before, the girl had visited the country for the first time. She realized immediately that the country was a great place for exchange studies. One of the arguments in favour of Slovenia was the fact that English was used as the language of instruction for many subjects.
The girl was fascinated with Ljubljana from the first sight. Eight months later, she feels completely at home. “When I moved here, at first I walked around the city for a few days and admired everything I saw while anticipating the experience that awaited me ahead,” recalls the Italian.
She notes that as compared to the Italians, the Slovenes are more reserved and self-contained. However, according to Maria Elena, this does not mean that the Slovenes are less hospitable to foreigners. Just the system of relations between people in Slovenia is different.
“I come from a country where people are stereotypically more open, sometimes even intrusive, so I’m used to completely different ways of interacting. Here, in Slovenia, the perception of embraces, kisses and other physical forms of feelings expression is different,” says the student.
She notes that the Slovenes are generally more polite and courteous than the Italians, but admits that it is more difficult for her to start a conversation with a Slovene than with an Italian. She also notes that the Slovenes like it very much when a foreigner respectfully speaks about their country. It seems to her that this is the issue of a certain hidden national identity of the Slovenes. Although the Slovenes do not always demonstrate it, they are really very proud when someone likes Slovenia.
“I cannot say that I have discovered any particular difference in the style of life in general, but I would say that the Slovenes greatly appreciate the environment and are very active in protecting it,” the Italian says.
During a short study period, the student visited many cities of Slovenia, such as Postojna, Piran, Portorož, and of course her favourite Ljubljana, which she likes the most.
“Ljubljana is not only an incredibly beautiful city, but also the place where I feel at home. In Ljubljana, I only miss my native people and the Italian cuisine,” concludes Maria Elena.