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Paula Hrboka

Studentessa di Odontoiatria

My name is Paula Hrboka and I'm coming from Split, a city in Croatia. I finished Dentistry at the Faculty of Medicine in Split. In 2023, during the final year of my studies I had the opportunity to spend four weeks in Rome as part of the Erasmus+ program at Sapienza University. The internship took place at Polyclinic Umberto I, where I had chance to learn from famous professors in various fields of dentistry.

Nell'ultimo anno dei miei studi di Odontoiatria, ho avuto l'opportunità di trascorrere un periodo a Roma come parte del programma Erasmus+ presso la Sapienza di Roma.

Finding accommodation in Rome for four weeks was quite challenging. Fortunately, through one dorm in Rome, which was fully occupied at that time, I got in touch with Oikia and they had an available room for me. To be honest, I wasn't familiar with Opus Dei before, even though I am an active Catholic in my community. After a video call with the person responsible for the hospitality, I could immediately see that Oikia was a place full of love, care and security. Indeed, that's how it turned out to be. Despite being in a big and unknown city where I didn't speak the language well, thanks to Oikia, I felt completely safe.

Trovare alloggio a Roma per quattro settimane è stata una vera sfida... Sono entrata in contatto con Oikia e lì ho trovato una stanza disponibile per me.

People in Oikia always had a smile on their faces. They selflessly endeavored to make my stay in the unfamiliar city more comfortable giving me a sense of belonging. I would like to emphasize how they always tried to prepare food that I liked and how they were taking care that I don't miss anything. They were also wonderful guides through Rome, helping me to better understand Italian culture and history. In addition, they organized a one-day trip in Orvieto and Narni which I will never forget. While the experience at Polyclinic Umberto I was excellent and contributed to my professional development, the experience in Oikia contributed to my spiritual development.

Grazie al progetto "Educazione al senso del bello attraverso l’arte”, ho potuto partecipare a gite a Roma e fuori Roma che mi hanno aiutato a comprendere meglio la cultura e la storia italiane.

After around 7 months when I finished all of my exams in university I returned to Rome to continue my internship at Polyclinic Umberto I. I had only my thesis left to defend in Croatia. Before starting my professional career I wanted to gain as much as possible knowledge and experience to become a better dentist in the future. I knew that opportunity to spend more time in Policlinic Umberto I will be valuable for my career. Oikia warmly welcomed me back. This time I stayed for two and a half months. During this period four Erasmus students were also staying in Oikia what made my time there even more special.

Dopo qualche mese, prima di iniziare la mia carriera professionale ho avuto l'opportunità di continuare la mia collaborazione con il Policlinico Umberto I. Durante il mio secondo periodo a Roma ho coinciso con altre quattro studentesse in Erasmus a Roma e questo ha reso la mia permanenza ancora più speciale.

In addition to our university obligations, we managed to spend time together and we built beautiful friendship. We enjoyed the beauty of Rome in our free time, participated in joyful gatherings in Oikia and went to trips to different cities around Rome.

We also had some tasks to do in Oikia like tidying up tables after lunch and dinner and setting up tables for next meal. Although that were small tasks, it gave us feeling of home and community. What I also liked was having meals together where we were talking about how we spent day, what interesting happened and what are our plans. Actually we were never lonely because we could always speak to someone in house and tell if we had some problems. Everyone was always open to listen to us and give us helpful advice. It made me miss my home a bit less because family atmosphere was all around me.

Ognuna di noi aveva un incarico da svolgere a Oikia come ad esempio pulire i tavoli dopo i pasti o apparecchiare. Anche se erano piccoli compiti, ci facevano sentire a casa e ci davano un senso di appartenenza.

My stay in Rome enriched my life and had a significat impact on me. I returned to Croatia with an invaluable experience and a memory that I will cherish forever thanks to Oikia!

La mia permanenza a Roma ha arricchito la mia vita e ha avuto un impatto significativo su di me. Sono tornata in Croazia felice di aver vissuto un'esperienza preziosa e con un ricordo che conserverò per sempre grazie a Oikia!

Paula Hrboka
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