An Italian in Philly: dragons, dragons everywhere

You’re home scrolling TikToks on your phone when you suddenly receive a notification from your mailing inbox: a new email from your Drexel advisor telling you not to miss the Welcome Week sessions. You ask yourself, “What is Welcome Week?” and you decide to put it in the bucket of things to google later, which as usual becomes to google never. Sooner than you know, you’re in Philadelphia and Welcome Week is about to start, what do you do?

I opened my DrexelOne app and I was immediantly shocked by the amount of different activities there were. Movie nights, games, tournaments, speeches, gatherings, just to name a few. Of course it would have been impossible to register for all of them, but I made sure to have at least a couple of events booked every day.

I was motivated to meet some new people and to explore the campus a little bit, besides when will I ever get another chance to eat free ice-cream while meeting Brian Baumgartner?

The first day of the Welcome Weeks finally came around and there I was, wandering around campus all by myself, with a schedule full of meetings to attend.

It felt like a little adventure: I was looking at the map (Google Maps, of course) to find all the places I had to go to to complete my daily quests which would be rewarding me with good memories and plenty of gadgets.

While walking around, I noticed that the campus felt like a city of its own.

How could I not mention all the flags, “Drexel University” signs and dragons that I was seeing? They reminded me in every street and every corner that I was, even if temporarily, a Drexel student. They made me feel like I was a part of something big, of a real community.

It goes without saying that the school spirit here is incredibly strong. Every student I met always seemed proud to be part of this reality.

I feel like in the US the university you go to becomes a significant part of your personality once you enroll and start living your student life. I can’t really say the same for my home university. Certainly, many people are proud of studying at the University of Bologna (it’s the oldest university in Europe and it is ranked among the best ones), but you rarely see students going around with a university branded t-shirt or bringing it up during conversations. Most of the time they just talk about specific courses they’re taking or projects they’re doing.

Seeing how deeply people here are involved in their academic life makes me want to act the same way for my home university. UNIBO be prepared!

Anyway, this is how a week schedule filled with all sorts of activities quickly became a full immersion in the Drexel student life and the American college experience.

Welcome Week was undoubtly the best way to start my program abroad.

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