– Napoli Seen by a Foreign Student –
I want to share with you these words and this video about a guy who, thanks to the Erasmus program, spent a few months in Naples.
For those who do not know, the Erasmus project (European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students), founded in 1987 through the work of the European Community, gives European university students the chance to perform, in a foreign university, a period study legally recognized by their university. The program’s name derives by the Dutch humanist and theologian Desiderius Erasmus (XV century), who for several years traveled across Europe to understand the different cultures. Currently more than 4,000 universities from 31 countries are participating in the project and, up to 2009, within the European Community, the students who participated in this initiative have been more than 2.2 million.
It does not matter the country this student comes from, and although I do not know what information (which described in such a bad way our city) he found and read on the Web before coming to Naples, I think there is no need to add other, apart from telling him “Thank you too, and come back here again.”
(I have translated what the student wrote and published on this website.)
<< I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was in Bilbao when received the news that I had been selected for the Erasmus project. I quickly went on internet and typed the word “Naples”. Oh my good! It didn’t seeme true what I was reading! Was I going to relocate into the worst place in the planet? I could not believe in the things written on the first pages that I found on internet, but, fortunately, I am quite curious and went on reading, until a point where the bad stories transformed into beautiful stories about people who had been in Naples and had discovered the heart of the city. It can be said that from that moment I felt the wish to become part of those people. I arrived on September 21 and from the start I found myself really well. I remember my first way from Garibaldi square, where I got out of the bus, going ahead through the colorful Corso Umberto I, turning right towards the long Via Duomo, while I was leaving behind the sea, until to reach my street: “via Anticaglia”. I threw the suitcase on the bed, and so my first day began, the first pizza, the first beer and early acquaintances that later would become my first friends. It’s amazing how the city and its citizens open the doors of their hearts as soon as I arrived in the street “Via dei Tribunali”.
It is said that “when someone goes to the South, he cries twice, once when he comes and another when he leaves (note: a phrase taken from a recent famous Italian film). It may be true, but in my case this occurred rather between arrival and departure. In fact, I lived some of the most intense emotions of my life during the time I have lived in the city. There are many things that I learned there and I’m not able to say all of them. I was living in the historical center, a place that every day is full of life. A place where at the beginning it was impossible to sleep after seven in the morning, because of scooters’ noise that honk at every intersection, even if, after a while, you get used. A place where you can find: from secondhand books in Port’Alba to musical instruments in Via San Sebastiano, from the bar “Café Carini ” in Piazza Bellini, to the best pastries in Domenico Maggiore square. And, above all, the greatest thing that you can find, the one that makes me nostalgic, it is the sunrise seen by “Via San Biagio dei Librai”, with the sun that crosses SpaccaNapoli, from Forcella to Montesanto street.
There is no city equal in the world, I called and still call it “Naples: the city where anything is possible”. I think it’s a city full of noises and music, that you hear from when you wake up until you go to sleep. One of those cities that you cannot judge before staying there, a city that needs to be discovered by everyone without any kind of prejudice, and so and just so you can feel what Neapolitans feel, a true love for the simple things that are simply the things that make you happy in the easiest way: having coffee with your child, drinking a beer in the square with friends or eating a piece of pizza together your dad, like you did many years ago…..
Eventually, living in a special way like only the Neapolitans know. For this reason, there is not a day that I do not remember the aroma of the small “Morenita”, the smell of pasta ready at home, of Peroni (note: an Italian brand of beer), of buffalo mozzarella, of sfogliatelle, public transport links that work in that particular way, the order in the disorder. Above all, I miss my home and people I met and which I still feel nostalgia. A nostalgia that sometimes brings me back to Castel Sant’ Elmo, where I looked at those sunsets with the sun disappearing behind Pozzuoli. I miss Naples… >>