There are people who look forward to the start of the soccer season so as to take part in the Fantasy Soccer auction with their friends. Others wait for the new season of their favourite series to start. Some are thrilled at the idea of wearing their leather jacket on cool nights. And others convince themselves to join the gym, feeling this could be the right time to get in shape. Then, here we are - the ESNers -, who only look forward to the Welcome Days. Despite their simplicity, these two words hold the essence of the ESN: welcoming international students to the Italian cities where they will study or do an internship and make them feel at home - even if they are kilometers away.
During the Welcome Days, ESN Sections introduce themselves to the international students for the first time. So, no better occasion to prepare the best activities! Among them, events that highlight both the beauty of Italian cities and multiculturality, such as City Tours, Treasure Hunts, Language Tandems and International Dinners. Also bonding activities such as picnics, sports tournaments and karaoke nights are very welcome.
The Welcome Days also enhance the institutional relationship between the ESN Sections and the related universities. Thanks to this crucial collaboration, exchange students can get a deep knowledge of the universities they will study at. From their side, universities improve their level of internationality, which proves to be a benefit not only for institutions, but also for all students.
During the Welcome Days the different Sections are, without a doubt, the point of reference for international students. They can turn to them for information about life quality and traditions in the destination cities, about how to find housing, about university courses and local lifestyle.
ESN is a safe haven: will I be able to settle in? Will I be able to live in a city that is culturally different? Will I make new friends? ESN is the answer to everything. The activities of the Welcome Days will create the first friendships - relationships that will last for the whole exchange period and will be remembered forever. The first person who participated with you in the City Tour or ran with you during the Treasure Hunt, the one you challenged during the Language Tandem or the one you ate with at the International Dinner. That person - Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish, Chinese - will share with you the unique and unforgettable experience that studying abroad represents.
It is incredible how a simple group of volunteers is able to do all of this. ESN is family. ESN are real bonds. ESN are the smiles of the volunteers who welcome newly arrived international students with open arms and say: “Welcome to Italy! Welcome to the ESN family!”.
Maria Giovanna R.
Translation: Sara Z. & Giulia G.