Disa Ekholm: Università degli Studi di Bologna 'Alma Mater Studiorum', Italy

Last changed: 03 April 2024
Street picture in Bologna

The university of Bologna is the oldest in Europe and the city has a very rich history, which I, as an exchange student got to learn about during my time there. The city looks very idyllic and has a much less of a touristic vibe than other cities close by, such as Florence or Verona. The city is packed with students from Italy and many other countries and people are always hanging out at cafés, bars and in the streets and parks. In my exchange, I learnt about a different way of living when it comes to socializing with strangers and having a less precise time schedule. Overall, a lifestyle which is more about the quality of life and less about the quantity. It was a great experience with good food and lots of sunshine.

Why did you want to do an exchange?

I wanted to discover something new – a different culture and a different location. An exchange is a great opportunity to live abroad for a shorter period and I really wanted to try that out. 

Which courses did you take?

  • Automation software and design patterns (87269) In this course, only a PC would work with the software which made it difficult for me with a mac. The course structure was also a bit unclear.
  • Corso di lingua Italiana A2 (36681) A beginner’s Italian course, completely taught in Italian. I really enjoyed it and
    learned more than I was hoping for!
  • Data modelling and multimedia database (84091) This course was the best during my exchange. The teacher was well organized, structured and had interesting lectures.
  • Introduction to Italian culture (2) (83693) This was an evening course designed for exchange students where different guest lecturers spoke about topics related to Italy. Some lectures were difficult to understand because of the English accent, but overall I learnt a lot about Italy as a country as well as Europe. I would recommend this course to any foreign student.
  • Precision field cropping (5705) The course was interesting but also quite intense with many lectures and computer labs. For someone interested in agriculture and GIS I would recommend it, otherwise it might be better to look for other less heavy courses.

What was the student life like outside of your own courses?

There was a very rich student life with lots of bars where the students were hanging out, both the foreign and Italian students. There were also many organized trips to different places in Italy as well as organized student activities in Bologna. The number of activities was simply too much to participate in everything. Needless to say, the student life was incredible.

What was your best experience during your exchange?

I had plenty of nice evenings in Bologna with good food and friends and I think those will be my best memories. I also made some very nice trips, for instance to Tuscany and once to Naples.

Advice for future exchange students

The school system might appear a bit messy, but it will all work out eventually. There is no rush with course registrations and such. The only thing that might be a problem is finding housing, which worked out eventually for most of my friends. But spend some time before hand trying to find accommodation and if you don’t, book an air-bnb or similar for the first time being because finding a place could take some time.


Name: Disa Ekholm
Exchange at: Università degli Studi di Bologna 'Alma Mater Studiorum'
Program at SLU: Master's Programme in Environmental and Water Engineering
Period of exchange: Spring 2022