Michael Potocsnyek

My semester at the Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia


Modena is situated in the interior on the southern Po Plain, close to Bologna and has approx. 200,000 inhabitants. It is renowned for its Aceto Balsamico di Modena, Ferrari and Maserati.

The city is the perfect size for a semester abroad – not too big, not too small. It is one of the few cities in Italy where people cycle. Modena is also very international with students from across Europe, America and China as well as companies recruiting engineers and marketing experts from abroad. You also encounter young people here who are undertaking an internship or working for one of the renowned car manufacturers in the region. It is relatively cool in winter and very, very hot in summer and it rarely rains. So you can take it easy in the park or take a trip to the sea or Lake Garda.


The technical university is located on the edge of town, yet within easy reach by bus, bike or car. The lectures are very interesting, but you should not have an aversion to mathematics. The lectures are also very theory based. There is always an academic quarter, the exams are oral and can take up to an hour, but there is generally an Erasmus bonus. There is a lot of talking, as is the way in Italy, so it is not unusual for a professor to talk for three hours straight, without taking a break!


As already mentioned, there are students from all over the world as well as from southern Italy (special dialect). People like to meet up for a chat but it is important to remember that any times given tend to be relative. People might meet for a ‘passeggiata’ and an ice-cream which, by the way, taste better in Modena than anywhere else. Everyone is very nice but you need to be able to speak Italian. And if you can’t, an intensive course is offered before the start of the semester. ‘Aperitivo’ is particularly popular and is enjoyed at the bars along with various treats from the region such as Parmigiano, Prosciutto crudo, Aceto di Modena, Lambrusco and Tortellini.

Accommodation is available at the various student residences and shared apartments. I spent the fourth semester of my Master’s course in Modena but think that the second semester would have been just as suitable. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this semester!

So on that note: a presto, ciao!

Some impressions from Michael Potocsnyek‘s semester abroad: