Flatmates that become your lifemates
I consider myself as a world traveler. My first trip without my family was when I was 11 years old to Hamburg, Germany for a summer camp. This experience made me understand that there are infinite experiences out there, however that would not be possible without leaving my comfort zone at home in Quito, Ecuador. Studying abroad became my biggest dream as days passed. For this reason, I joined a precollege program in the University of Mississippi (http://www.olemiss.edu/) during my 5th year of high school. I truly wanted to study in the US and I felt it was necessary to have a preview of it.
My experience was very interesting and enriching but I had some troubles especially because, for the first time in my life I had to share a dorm room with an unknown person. Living with my flat mate was hard because we didn’t know each other well and we had to share this very small dorm. Our differences were very marked and I did not have the confidence enough to tell her the things I disliked, which influenced my humor a lot. I remember she used to study a lot, and stayed with the light or until very late which made it difficult for me to go to sleep. I love listening to music, which annoyed her, and many other things like the smell of food or garbage made living with her complicate. This experience made me realize the ugly face of traveling, moving abroad and how important it is to find someone that shares your values, traditions and with whom you feel comfortable.
Upon deciding where to study abroad for my university studies, life guided me to Europe, curiously where my traveling started. Now, I am currently studying Business and Economics in Bocconi University (http://www.unibocconi.eu) in Milan, Italy. I decided to come here because I felt that living in Europe will make me grow, and will expose me to the “real” life. I think that life in US is more comfortable and I wanted to face every day life decision-making and challenges.
I cannot deny that my first year in Bocconi was very hard. I arrived to a very different country and in top of that I couldn’t speak a word of Italian or knew anyone at university. I lived first year in a Bocconi residence and remembering my memories there gives me mixed feelings. I shared a flat with 3 people, 1 girl and 2 guys. Each one of us had our single room and we shared the bathroom and the kitchen. With the two Italian guys, Matteo and Giorgio, we had so much fun together. We build a good confidence that allowed us to live happy with each other. Especially, my roommate Matteo changed my life. He taught me so much in so little time, and his support was unconditional. I consider him one of my best friends till the present day.
The problem came when the other girl arrived. We were opposite poles, and at many times I felt uncomfortable living in my own house. Cleaning was the worst aspect of all because for me a clean house is crucial. Once, we even had an ant invasion and I remember they were everywhere, including my bed. It was tough, but at the same time I am thankful for the lessons because I believe it made me a more tolerant person.
My life changed in second year when I moved to my own apartment. I decided to live with one of my best friends, Giulia, an Italian girl from Calabria. I was very certain living with her would be amazing, because we are very similar in many ways and we share the same values and opinions. It was a perfect match because by living with her I could practice my Italian and learn more about the Italian culture. While, on the other way Giulia learned about my Latin culture and many words and phrases in Spanish.
We both love having our house clean and we manage perfectly that aspect. She plays the guitar and hearing her play, gives me peace and light to the house. I feel so happy, pleased and comfortable living with her and this showed off also in many other aspects of my life. I realized that feeling good in your own house, will allow you to feel good in many other things and in general it is something that directly affects your mood. Now, I am always happy to get back home, and I don’t have to worry about things I used to before. This year, her sister Andrea is living with us. With both of them, I feel the sense of home, especially when their beautiful siblings and parents come to visit us. Often their family sends us packages of home made food, vegetables, honey and amazing sweets. This summer, I went to their house in Calabria and felt at home.
Living with Giulia made my university years brighter happier. Even though there are many differences between an Ecuadorian girl and an Italian, if you are able to share with each other those crucial opinions and if “click”, then your house becomes your home and your flatmates become your lifemates.
Author: Valentina Delgado 21, Ecuador
follow her on Instagram: validelgado