“I fell in love with Italy, it was as if everyone was part of a family”.

Yamile from Cusco, Perù, is about to finish her second year a master's degree in “Mass Media e Politica” at Unibo.

Cusco, Lima then...Italy! 

am Yamile and am originally from Cusco in Perù, I studied there in the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Incas. At the age of 17, I moved to the capital, Lima, where I attended the Law School of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. 

After working for some years as a lawyer in law firms and companies, I decided to give a twist to my professional experience and enter the world of journalism. So, before moving to Italy I worked as a Legal and Political Analyst in a magazine for two years. 

In law school at my university in Lima, we had to read many Italian authors. That's how I decided to learn the Italian language and in 2016 I attended a summer school at the University of Bologna to learn Italian. I fell in love with Italy, the culture and of course, the food. I saw students always hanging out in the streets, I also observed them celebrating graduations.  In short, I felt a very nice university atmosphere: it was as if everyone was part of a family. On that occasion, I promised myself to come back to Italy and enrol in a master's degree. 

Yamile on a terrace enjoying the view.

Moving from one continent to another: not an easy feat 

It is not easy to move to another country. Before leaving Perú, I did a lot of research on Italian universities. The University of Bologna always appeared as number one in many national rankings as well as scoring pretty well also in international ones. This and the fact that Unibo is the oldest university in the western world dremy attention: the history and culture this university represents were added values for me. I already had a basic level of Italian, so I said: if not now, when? 

 

Interviews and time difference 

In order to apply to the University of Bologna, I had to prepare some personal documents such as transcripts, language certificates (Italian and English)and documents proving that I had already finished my undergraduate studies. Moreover, I had to draft a thought-provoking resume for the admission proceduremonth before leaving my country I took private Italian classes because I chose a master's degree in Italian, and I did not want to leave anything to chance. 

After the University accepted my documents, they set up two interviews in Italian via Skype. The experience per se was quite unusual and amusing as both interviews were very early in the morning on my side of the world, but all in all, it was exciting. The scope of the interviews was, among other things, to evaluate my interest in the master's degreecheck if my profile was a good fit and assess my level of Italian. Luckily, both interviews went well – it was a huge relief. 

Nativity and Christmas Tree in Piazza Saffi in Forlì.

Forlì: from cultural shock to fairy tale 

My degree programme is based in Forlì which is an hour away from Bologna. My first impression when I got there was: "how far I am from home!"- At the beginning, I felt unsettled, but it lasted a short time, I immediately made friends with my Spanish-speaking flatmates and things gradually became easier. Forlì is a welcoming university town, quiet and safe. The University campus is new and modern and it is in the centre of the city. There are many bars, ice cream shops and restaurants nearby and bookstores and photocopy services are always available for the students. 

When I first arrive in Italy, I rented an Airbnb room for a few weeks while looking for an apartment I liked. Fortunately, I found some student associations that were able to help me with the list of available apartments. Eventually, I found a room in a shared apartment in the city centre overlooking "Piazzale della Vittoria" only seven minutes' walk from the campus. I got along very well with my flatmates, we were like sisters: we studied and went out together, even now that I don’t live there anymore, we are always in touch. I was there for a year, then my boyfriend and I decided to move in together and we now live in Imola, therefore I commute by train to Forlì, but it only takes 30 minutes.  

Forlì has good train connections to Bologna and to several locations on the Adriatic Sea. It is also less expensive than Bologna: flats are easier to find and usually bigger.  

Before the pandemic hit, during my free time I always took advantage of living in Forli to get to know other cities in Italy. I just hopped on a train off to a new city, took lots of pictures and, when the day was over, had an “aperitivo” with a beautiful view.  

Once, I was in Forlì for Christmas and I enjoyed it immensely: the city was completely lit with Christmas lights and in Piazza Saffi every night there was a light show around the Christmas tree, they called it "la magia della luce". In addition, in the centre of the square, there was an ice-skating ring with music and drinks and a traditional Christmas Market. It was like walking through a fairy tale 

Yamile smiling while visiting an European Residence.

Learning and studying 

 My master’s degree allowed me to learn a lot about communication strategies as well as Italian culture and politics. There were some theory-centred courses, but the main focus of the programme was the workshops: those were very hands-on and allowed students to go from theory to practice in a very smooth and natural way. I found them very informative and compelling especially because professors shared their professional experience and made us learn from that. 

While studying in Forlì, I did not have a scholarship, but I was granted a fee waiver – as a general rule, I recommend submitting the documents necessary for scholarships and fee waivers in due time. I did not receive a scholarship from Er.Go. (the regional authority for the right to study), however, I won an Erasmus scholarship within the internship abroad programme. This brought me to Berlin for two months on an internship at a communication agency that had a deal with Unibo. 

 As far as study places are concerned, Forlì is very well equipped the Teaching Hub has several study spaces, during the day sunlight showers the space which is also open until late and with a great wifi connection. I used libraries a lot, especially for borrowing exam books – that made studying here easier and cheaper. Since I am a curious person, I often travelled to the other cities of the Multicampus to see the locations and for a change of scene. I went to Bologna and Ravenna and studied at libraries and study rooms there finding them very comfortable. I think the Multicampus represents an added value of the University of Bologna especially for students: you get access to spaces and services in all five cities of the Multicampus and that is just amazing.

QUICK TIPS 

definitely recommend the University of Bologna. The experience of living and studying in a country with such a rich culture as Italy is very worthwhile. Unibo offers the opportunity to be part of a huge university community, it also offers opportunities for internships and student exchanges that enrich the university experience and contribute greatly to your personal and professional growth.