“The air you breathe is something magical and that immediately makes you feel part of something bigger”

Italian incoming student Francesco Appollonio about his semesters abroad at the mdw

posted by Francesco Appollonio on April 09, 2021

Francesco Appollonio,  22 years old, comes from Capua – a small city, rich in history, in the province of Caserta. He plays the piano and is currently enrolled in the first year of the Master programme at the San Pietro a Majella Conservatory in Naples. 

City of Capua
San Pietro a Majella Conservatory in Naples
Royal Palace of Caserta

How many semesters have you already spent at the mdw?

I’ve spent two semesters at the mdw – the 2019/20 and 2020/21 winter semesters.  

What do you find special about studying at the mdw? What do you like the most and the least?

It’s difficult to express what studying at the mdw has brought me. The air you breathe is something magical and that immediately makes you feel part of something bigger. In every corner, you can feel the presence of music, which entices you and pushes you to study. I feel that for a music lover like me, such a university is like a dream. What enriches you more than anything is the fact that you can have discussions with musicians from all over the word or just enjoy a chat with them. I don’t think there are any ‘cons’ to studying at the mdw – everything is so perfectly managed. During the first semester, one of the things that amazed me most was the ‘Welcome’ meeting, which was extremely interesting and well organised. The Erasmus programme that mdw offers is excellent: there are many activities and opportunities that allow you to get to know other students and become more familiar with the place. 

What’s your personal connection with Vienna? What was it like for you living here?

After these two experiences, Vienna has almost become my second home and I feel very attached to this city. Life may be more expensive, but the city offers endless services, such as theatres, museums, exhibitions, parks, and these all make your stay more enjoyable. I’ll always carry some unforgettable memories with me.  

Do you have any advice for new students starting at the mdw?

I can only advise anyone who’s preparing to study at the mdw not to waste any more time, but to start immediately and enjoy every moment. 

What would you say are the benefits and what do you learn at a personal level when studying abroad?

Studying abroad is one of the most fulfilling experiences ever. On the one hand, it’s challenging, as you have to learn how to self-manage and solve problems – while on the other, it drops you into a multicultural universe and helps you become more open-minded. This experience has helped me find out more about myself and learn a more efficient methodology.  

Describe your personal path to music: when and why did you start playing your instrument?

I started studying piano at school, when I was already 14 years old. I started playing this instrument thanks to my grandmother, who taught music – which is how I started learning some little things. Even today, I keep the upright piano on which I took my first steps and still practise regularly on it. This helps me remember her and how I started studying music. 

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