Erasmus+ Blog Brescia, Italy
During my Erasmus+ placement in Brescia, Italy, I gained a lot of career and life skills. It has given me the opportunity to improve my CV. I worked in various establishments participating in various avtivities, such as in a secondary school, English classes at Mistral and at a migrant centre . In my free time, I explored many places of interest in including Milan, Verona, Venice and Florence.
Where Brescia is
Brescia is located in the north of Italy it is in between Milan and Verona, and close to the biggest lakes in Europe Lake Garda and Lake Iseo. I like to think of Brescia as being a second home, it reminds me of Wolverhampton to some degree. It is very multicultural which I think is a great quality every city should have.
It has useful public transport such as busses and a self-driving metro! If you sit at the front of the metro it feels like you are on a rollercoaster except it has no inclines or dips unfortunately, imagine how fun that would be! Train costs are quite cheap in Italy you can travel to popular cities like Verona and Milan for around 15 euro return and to the nearby lakes for around 7 Euros return.
I worked in a secondary school for some time at the beginning of my placement period. Prior to starting my placement a few students of the school had organised a tour of Brescia in English which I really admired.
Being a recent graduate with no teaching experience and also being nervous at presenting, teaching English to foreign classes was something definitely out of my comfort zone! I was very nervous as you can imagine to begin with, but although initially I was lacking a little confidence I soon developed my presenting skills through my time at the school. The staff were lovely and gave me useful teaching tips they treated me as one of their own colleagues, despite being one of the youngest members of staff there. I’m sure some of them wondered what is this student doing in the staff room!
Although I was there for a short period of time, I have made some great memories from the school and met some lovely staff members. I gained some experience in teaching and it gave me food for thought to consider teaching as a possible career. I even got invited to some of the students graduation ceremony which was lovely to see!
During part of my experiences I worked at Mistral helping children with their homework and carrying out activities in English. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching this group of lower secondary school pupils they made me laugh a number of times and although it was difficult at times due to the language barrier, we got through it and I also learnt bits of Italian from them.
The second experience I had at Mistral was teaching English to a mixture of secondary school children and primary school teachers. Here I also developed styles of teaching to accommodate different ages. It was weird to think that I was teaching, teachers you can imagine the pressure I was under!
In Centro Migranti I carried out some admin work, although it was a struggle at first due to the language barrier, a few days later I started picking up commonly asked questions, to be able to sufficiently carry out some admin work independently. I registered people and was able to ask them a series of questions to obtain their personal details. I was able to use English, Panjabi, Hindi and Urdu to speak to some of the migrants and I was able to help translate for my colleagues.
Social and cultural experiences
Milan is a beautiful city and one of the more modern cities. I loved visiting the marvellous Duomo, I enjoyed window shopping through the streets full of designers like Dolce and Gabanna, Armani and so on. Seeing all the super cars parked on the streets was incredible too!
Verona the home of Romeo and Juliet was great to see, Verona had one of the most amazing award winning pizza at a shop next to the coliseum . Often there would be weddings taking place in the cathedrals in various cities including Verona!
Venice was great too! I loved just catching the public boat service and getting off random stops to explore the maze like streets.
Bergamo was a beautiful city it has one of the most beautiful cathedral located on top of a hill. It was nice to walk up the hill and to explore the city from a birds-eye view.
Largo di Garda was only a 20 minute journey on the train from Brescia! It was nice to just relax next to the lake and sun bathe, whilst taking in the view and fresh air of the lake.
Sirmione was a lovely village off the lake, although it took some time to get there it was worth it. It had a beautiful castle built onto the lake, for me it was the first time seeing a castle on water which was wonderful.
Lake Iseo was one of my favourite lakes to visit, it was so peaceful and relaxing, it wasn’t flooded with too much tourists too, so it was great to just have a quiet day exploring.
Where the story of Pinocchio originates from! Florence is a very popular tourist area. It is beautiful and has incredible monuments. It was beautiful climbing the many steps to get to the top of the bell tower, the view was astounding.
Ledro, Treintino and Lake of Idro
Mistral organised some trips for us including taking us on bike rides, Lake Idro, Treintino and Ledro which were all lovely.
In addition, we went to a small village surrounded by vineyards, on an evening we went to watch a spettacolo (show). Although I hardly understood the jokes by the actors, it was nice to experience what it is to be like a local and I felt grateful for having this opportunity as a foreigner.
The Food and Coffee
The great coffee, tasty pizza and the variety of flavoured gelato are amongst some of the great tastes Italy has to offer!