"Studying in Italy made me a more sociable person"

Xiaoli from Canton, China studies at the master in “Specialized Translation” in Forlì. A truly multilingual environment is the best place for a translator.

A truly multilingual environment

Hi everyone, I am Xiaoli and I am from Canton, China. I’ve just finished my second year at the international master in Specialized Translation (Department of Interpreting and Translation of the University of Bologna - Forlì Campus) and I am currently writing my dissertation.

I decided to come to Italy to study for two main reasons. Firstly, because I am interested in the Italian language and culture, secondly and more importantly because I would like to add Italian to my working languages, as I think this is a good asset on the job market.

As a language student, I think I found the right place for me at the Department of Interpreting and Translation. I enjoyed both theory- and practice-based courses here, as the former allowed me to be more familiar with the tools that can help me in my work or do research, whereas the latter prompted me to think more about linguistics.

Compared to my previous university experience in China, I feel more immersed in a multilingual environment here at Unibo, there is good interaction between students and professors.

Italian courses and embassy nightmares

Before enrolling, I took a one-year private Italian course, I honestly do not know if that played a role in my enrolment process being so smooth. The entrance exam was well-explained on the Department’s website and the professors that interviewed me were nice and understanding. As it often happens, the most time-consuming part was preparing all the documents and dealing with the embassy: that was a nightmare!

Bologna: porticoes and football matches

As my degree program is based in Forlì, this is where I live now, but I have also been to Bologna. Maybe because China is always bustling, I felt Bologna was very tranquil when I first arrived. But as I spend more time there, I found that it is also a very lively city with all its cultural events, football, food, etc. Moreover, I particularly liked Bologna’s streets with their long porticoes - it’s always nice to walk around the city and with the "portici", you don’t even have to worry much about the rain. In case of need, you can always take the bus. This is what I did when I was late to the football match 😀; by the way, I recommend going to the stadium as it is an exquisitely Italian experience, that is also cheap!

An open-design multicampus right in the city centre

What I particularly like about Unibo is that the university multicampus is very openly designed and integrated into the campus cities and I think this makes the university more open and engaged in the city life. Not having secluded campuses means that you can study and have a break right in the city centre, indeed I like attending the University’s study rooms and libraries, where I can also use AlmaWifi (the free Internet connection provided by Unibo). I've been to the international desk a couple of times and they were very helpful, although sometimes it is not feasible to get all the answers.

Life in Forlì

Here in Forlì, I live in a nice monolocale (studio apartment) that I found through an agency, so I don’t share my space with roommates, but I get along well with my neighbours (and their cat :D). I usually walk to the university, because it’s very close, this is what makes Forlì very livable. Forlì also offers some great entertainment opportunities. Indeed, when I am not studying, I sometimes go jogging in the park and, before the pandemic, I went out with friends for a drink or a meal in pubs and restaurants or we simply hung out at each other’s place.

The pandemic has surely impacted my life as a student, I am not attending classes anymore, but I had to attend online lessons. Some courses went well, some didn’t - I guess that the success of the course also depends on its content. Even if only online make you feel a bit lonely, a sense of relief came by being part of the Unibo community. As a matter of fact, the university always kept us informed about the situation and I talked often with my friends and classmates.

Quick tips

As you can see, I am a fan of the University of Bologna, therefore me recommending it to other students will not come as a surprise. The lessons, professors and students are all great, and I genuinely learned many things here. And I am also a more sociable person now than I used to be because I feel very accepted here. If I were to give one piece of advice to prospective students, it would be this: be prepared for a different lifestyle of life, but there’s no need to worry, because life is fairly enjoyable here, especially if you speak a little Italian! And if you are in difficulty, never hesitate to ask for help.