An exchange student in a strange space

Giuseppe Raudino was just another Erasmus student in Groningen back  in 2001. Now, the Hanzehogeschool teacher has self-published a novel about the less-than-academic aspects of Erasmus exchange.

until morning2The student characters in Raudino’s novel Until Morning live in Groningen, Siena, Syracuse and Helsinki, and are connected through Erasmus exchanges and often bad decisions. Their decidedly unscholarly activities unfold between the northern and southern extremes of Europe, relying heavily on the stereotypes held by every character about every other character. Most of them learn from the mistakes they make, and Raudino’s story argues that that is the whole point of going abroad.

The characters in ‘Until Morning’ get up to some questionable behavior. What was your own experience as an Erasmus student?

‘I studied communications in the Faculty of Arts – it was great! I mean, I wasn’t really following that many classes, but I was busy learning about other things and getting in contact with other cultures. That’s something I think every Erasmus student should do – don’t just focus on teachers and your classes.’

Are the students in the book ever actually in class?

‘The Harmonie building, the library and the Academy building are just the background setting. But there is one scene when they are in class, and these Italian guys are trying to guess the nationalities of the girls, which is very stereotypical.’

Was that something you actually did yourself?

‘A little bit, but what was funnier to me was realizing how people look at my nationality. I was shocked, but I couldn’t agree more! I don’t really fit into the Italian society, that’s probably why I moved to the north.’

Are there any events in the book that you really experienced?

‘Not events, but moreso feelings I had, like loneliness. As an exchange student, you feel that you’re in a totally strange space. Sometimes you don’t even feel like you’re in the Netherlands here, it’s more of an international place, like an airport or something. But I do recall things like hanging out at night and seeing the nice cobblestone streets and the architecture, and that’s what the characters experience, too. I hope the students will be able to recognize themselves in some situations, no matter what kind of students they are or what their background is.’

‘Until Morning’ is available through Amazon for Kindle for €1.80.