Article written by Mohamed Amer
Before going deeper into the story I need to tell you that if you have a dream and you believe in it, do not give up and fight for it.As Ellen Johnson said “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough “.
The first chapter of the story began in early last June when I got an acceptance letter to pursue my Master’s degree at Bologna University as I always dreamed of. For me, this letter was like a gate that I have been looking for three years to give me the access to the real world.
My only experience with really living abroad was a year in Saudi Arabia with some friends so I haven’t been in Europe before.
At the end of dark tunnels there is always a light | Photo taken by me in Parco Campagna via Larga, Bologna
Finally got admitted to Bologna University!
When I went on this trip I was so excited I could not wait to get to Italy to meet new people and have this experience. I was overjoyed that I got the chance to go.
I was supposed to begin studying in September, but I got refused when I applied for the study visa for the first time. This rejection made me a little bit late because I had to re-apply again or give up easily and I chose the second option.
To be rejected twice is not something easy but this is what happened with me; I got refused for the second time and untill now, I don’t know the reason why!
I email-ed the international desk of Bologna University and asked for help They helped me a lot until I got the visa in December after submitting three applications and it was the last chance to get it! Yeah, I did it and couldn’t give up easily.
I was so comfortable and really just ready to dive in but I’ve missed the first semester already and was about to lose the scholarship that I’ve got but I was lucky as I lost only the half amount of it. I got to Bologna during the Christmas holiday without arranging a place to accommodate. I have been hosted by a friend of mine untill I found a place to accommodate.
I had nobody to go find an accommodation with, I did not know the city, I did not know where I was going to be living. I got to Bologna and I had to find my way to my dorm all by myself.
How I got the nickname of “Egyptian struggler”
After two days, my friend traveled to Germany and left me alone with an Italian family who spoke no English. I was pretty isolated; I remember that night when I was about to cry and I was so afraid. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, I felt completely isolated and totally alone.
After a while, I got a bit more comfortable with the situation and after the holiday was finished, I went to the international desk at the university to ask them about my situation and submitted my documents to get enrolled.
When they asked me about my name, they couldn’t imagine that they finally got me in Bologna because they were aware about my situation. They told me that my name is very familiar there and they called me “The Egyptian struggler” –The Egyptian student who was fighting for the visa.
I felt amazing and that was the second chapter of the story which made me extra motivated to overcome any difficulties I would have to face.
At the moment that this article is written, I am glade to tell you that I’ve passed two exams out of six and working on the rest according to a study plan. I got my permit of stay, I found a good place to accommodate ten days after getting to Bologna and I’ve got a part time job!
Tips for students in Bologna
From this unfinished story, I would like to give you some lessons if you like to study in Italy/Bologna:
- Lesson one: Italy is a good place to live, study and work.
- Lesson two: University of Bologna is a great place to get your certificate from and they care a lot about international students and provides them lots of scholarships and awards.
- Lesson three: The beginning is always hard.
- Lesson four: You will leave your family and your friends behind and become independent so try to get out of your comfort zone and find solutions for the problems that you may face.
- Lesson five: Always have an alternative plan as you can use it anytime.
- Lesson six: Try to find a part time job after getting your permit of stay as it will help you dealg with different people and gain a good experience. Bologna University offers a part time job – 150 hours part time contract – in the libraries so you can apply for this one every year in July through an online application on the university website.
- Lesson seven: Do not be shy, break the language barriers and ask for everything as you will be in a different country with a different culture so it is better to ask.
- Lesson eight: All streets in Italy look almost the same, so try to use Google maps for the first week to avoid being lost. After a week, try to get yourself lost as it is a good way to remember the streets!
- Lesson nine: Never travel by bus without a ticket! You can buy one/ten-times bus tickets for 12 € from any “Tabaccheria” on the street, or you can buy a monthly ticket for 26 €.
- Lesson ten: Do not leave Italy without speaking Italian as it is a good opportunity to learn a different language.
Keep in mind that Studyportals is the best platform that gives you the chance to get in touch with a huge number of ambassadors from different universities around the world. So if you have any inquires or need help about studying in Italy, do not hesitate to ask me through Studyportals.