Ilaria Naef

Home university: University of Genoa

Guest university: Ruhr-Universität Bochum

City/country: Genoa, Italy

Subject: Translation

Erasmus stay: 2014/2015 and 2016/2017

Current occupation: Student at the University of Genoa

Hi, my name is Ilaria and I spent two Erasmus stays at Ruhr-Universität, one in 2014 and another one in 2016. Before my first Erasmus stay, I was pretty insecure about spending 6 months in Germany without my family and my friends. I had never been away from my country for such a long period of time, and I had never lived alone before.

The fact that I have a disability made me wonder if I would be able to do everything on my own – especially in a foreign country. Deep inside I knew the answer was yes, and I wanted to show everyone what I could do. This was my chance to prove to my family and myself that I am an adult, and that I am able to do so much more than I thought before.

Ilaria wheelchair skating

When I moved to Bochum, I felt amazing, because everything was wheelchair-accessible and I could be much more independent than I am in Italy. In Bochum I could finally start following my passion, WCMX (wheelchair skating), and train with my friends that live in Dortmund (only 15 minutes away from Bochum).

At the end of my first Erasmus stay, I didn't want to go home and I promised myself and my friends that I would try to come back. This year I kept my promise and managed to spend six more months as an Erasmus student in Bochum: my experience was even better than the previous one! I have met some very nice people and made new friends from all over Europe. I think my Erasmus experiences have been really useful, not only to improve my language skills, but also to boost my self-confidence and make me more independent. Thanks to Erasmus, I have become a better person!

Ilaria with her Erasmus friends