College life: Italian Style

Having only experienced college life while on exchange in Italy, I can’t say much for the Australian equivalent.  However, there were several aspects of life which struck me as quintessentially Italian or at least particular to my college specifically while I was living in Pavia.  And so I present – my top five snapshots of Italian college life!


1. Coffee vendings machines

Pretty sure I have already raved about these in another post.  But such a godly gift deserves further praise.

Imagine being able to buy any type of coffee – cappuccino, latte, espresso, mocha (thee list goes on) – at any time of the day, for only €0.50 (about 70 Australian cents)!  This was definitely a perk of college life, and satisfied those late night mocha/hot chocolate cravings!


2. Sala colazioni

Sala colazioni, or the “breakfast room,” was literally that – a room full of tables and chairs which housed the three college vending machines.  Except, it was also a makeshift group study area in the summer when the non-air-conditioned study rooms were much too hot.

The best sala colazioni moment was a night during which a group of us all stayed up until 2 in the morning to study and talk.  One of the guys disappeared for an hour and then returned, bearing a gift: a Vienetta to share!

For those who are yet to witness the delicacy and beauty which is the Vienetta, much-loved dessert and staple in all Italo-Australian households, let me introduce you:


So imagine a group of college students, pushing books aside, bringing plates and forks and sharing ice-cream together.  It was one of the brightest moments of the college experience, a casual sharing of ice-cream which made me feel so incredibly at home.


3. Coffee after lunch

There is nothing quite like sitting in the kitchen with your college mates and then someone saying “Vuoi un caffé?” (“Would you like a coffee?”)

At a time when I was feeling very far from home and a little lonely, sharing in a post-meal espresso did me a world of good and really made me feel as though I was part of the group!


4. The cat

This cat would show up anywhere and everywhere!  Aside from the fact that it was banned from college, it would find its way into any room and pop up to surprise us.  The cat was such a regular fixture that he was named after the college.



5. The washing machine a.k.a. student enemy number 1

Every time I washed my clothes, a new trauma awaited me.  I experienced loads which stopped mid-cycles (and which I then had to pay for AGAIN), clothes which weren’t rinsed properly, holes ripped in my much-loved pyjama shorts, my undies creepily disappeared one day, and I dripped water all over the floor because the machine didn’t drain my clothes and I couldn’t wring them out properly by myself.  I solemnly swear that the outdated industrial washer hated me.

And of course, the semester after I left, they purchased a new machine AND lowered the price of a load.

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