“Unibo is a tradeoff between modern speed of life and historic significance”

Yernur is a Student Ambassador from Kazakhstan and studies Management at the University of Bologna, Forlì Campus

Published on 30 August 2022 | Asia

Hi everyone! My name is Yernur Kairly, I come from Kokshetau, north Kazakhstan. After I got my BA in Kazakhstan, I came to the University of Bologna to study Management in the Forlì Campus and I’m currently in my second year.

An old and innovative university? That’s the University of Bologna.

The University of Bologna was my first choice: founded in 1088, the university is the oldest known in the West. Long history and consistent quality of teaching attracted my attention. I was curious of how such an old institution continues to satisfy modern standards of teaching in historic buildings while taking care of this heritage. This tradeoff between the modern speed of life and its historic significance seemed unique to me. It appears more than relevant in my country of origin with high speed of construction where I couldn`t get this perspective of sustainability and progress at the same time. It's my primary hope to learn how to follow these initiatives efficiently as a manager.  

Earlier applications for non-Eu students

My enrolment process started earlier than usual. Non-European students have a few extra steps to their applications, namely legalization of academic records and translation of those into Italian. Everything went smooth thanks to the ongoing support I received from two Italian offices. Firstly, I received support from the International Desk of the Forli campus. They guided me through the fine print of the documents I had to submit. Secondly, ER.Go, the regional agency for the right to study, supported me in applying for scholarships and accommodation. They were really fundamental to the success of my application, and I appreciated their availability and kindness. As far as I know, there are two scholarship options for Non-Eu students, one provided by the University of Bologna – Unibo Action 1 & 2 – and another one issued by ER.GO. Whatever option you chose, be careful not to miss your deadlines. Furthermore, the ER.GO scholarship provide flexibility in terms of benefits, students can choose to split the amount of scholarship to free meals, accommodation, and/or cash receipts.

Yernur admiring a cathedral

Time and practice: the key to success

During my first year, I felt that my MA in Management included courses that were too theoretical and barely connected to each other, despite the fact that it also had several workshops and seminars. Shortly after however, the bigger picture appeared clearer to me and I was excited to start new courses each semester.

Another key point which differentiates this programme from other more traditional MAs is that courses often do not foresee mandatory assignments. This created in me the illusion of freedom as if me and other fellow students were already graduated and had to sort out which activities to do. It took me a little while to adjust to this kind of trust and freedom, indeed I am not ashamed to say that I also failed some courses because I underestimated their challenges. Then with time and practice I learned my lesson and found a balance between working, studying and travelling. And now I’m looking forward to keeping this schedule after graduating.

Teaching Hub, Forlì Campus

University libraries and coffee vending machines: life savers

I often go to the university library, it is one of my favourite places to study the week before the exams. The University has plenty of services, including life-saving coffee vending machines and free Wi-FI. If you want to know about other services, just keep track of your e-mail: you’ll receive a newsletter from the university that will keep you up to speed with everything from academic life and sport events to movie screenings.

English is not really universal here but...

Not many people speak English in Forli. But the good news is that there is a great University Language Center in which they teach 4 languages also with remote learning and discounts for studente with an ER.GO scholarship! I attended one free course online during my second semester and I plan to enrol for my third foreign language next year. Once you complete your Italian course, you can apply for bonus academic credits which help with the ER.GO scholarship.

Piazza Saffi, Forlì

Forlì: cosy and conveniently located

Forli is a small city in Romagna region, the sea is very close, only 30-40 minutes by bus. Despite being small, Forlì is a student-centered city and it offers a lot of activities, to name but a few: Karaoke evenings, Erasmus Parties, Walk and Talk tours. The size of the city allows me to walk everywhere and to use public transport only to get to other cities.

Finding accommodation in Forlì was not too hard for me, but I consider myself lucky: I found an apartment on Facebook even before coming to Italy. According to my experience, landlords start to post ads 5-6 month ahead, so you can start negotiating very early on. My current apartment is in the historic centre of Forli at equal distance from the main square, the university campus and the train station. During my first year, I had Italian flatmates, that helped a lot for my Italian as I practiced it daily. Now, I live with two guys from different parts of India.

Sports and hobbies

The University of Bologna has also a sports centre, CUSB, which offers discounts for students, I haven’t got a membership yet because sports facilities have been closed for a long time due to the pandemic, but I will get one when the situation will improve. Indeed, CUSB provides so many courses that I don’t really want to miss out on anything, I got my eyes on a sailing course and I am going to apply for it as soon as possible. During these months, one of my favourite pastimes was playing basketball with other international students in the pitches of the Forlì campus. Moreover, every two weeks I travel with friends usually by train and we go to different cities. I’ve been to most well-known and usual places – I am after all a tourist in one of the most beautiful countries of the world and I am subject to the charm of the touristy Italian cities!

A nurturing university

The University of Bologna is a great place for professional and personal development. There is support from teaching staff when there is a disruption. There are different organizations ready to help with financing, finding work, accommodation. There are lots of academic exchange programs for writing your thesis or studying abroad. There are language and sport courses with discounts. And information about all of this is neatly summarized in a weekly newsletter: what it is left for students is to study, travel, enjoy and feel happy!