"Unibo, with its challenges, never fails to interest me"

Tarik from Basra, Iraq. A second-year student of the international degree program in Medicine and Surgery. That's me operating a minimally invasive simulator for micro-surgery - I loved it! Unibo makes you feel part of its community and never ceases to surprise you.

International reputation, great professors and funding schemes: Unibo has it all

Hi everyone, my name is Tarik. I am a second-year student of the international degree program in Medicine and Surgery and I come from Basra, Iraq. I came to Italy to become a doctor and also because wanted to challenge myself to experience a new culture, learn a new language, and get novel insights about my field of interest. 

Of course, the international reputation of the University of Bologna played a role in my choice; moreover, studying at the oldest university of the world, one that boasts such a great history and name, also means that my degree will be more valuable. There are quite a few aspects I particularly like about this degree program, such as our professors, that are also researchers. Furthermore, students here are exposed to medicine hands-on practice very early on and this does not usually happen at otheMed schools, therefore I consider myself lucky to be receiving such a high-quality training. 

A further key factor that made me choose the University of Bologna is its financial aid scheme for international students. Indeed, I am also one of the recipients of an UniBo Action scholarship which is based on SAT scores. I admit it has been a challenge for me to meet its requirements, but it is a great scholarship system that rewards merit without ignoring low-income situations, which is quite fair, I reckon  

Oral exams: a great challenge for an international student

I feel that the University of Bologna always throws new challenges at me, but, at the same time, never fails to interest me. One the challenges I’ d like to mention is oral exams. They were completely new to me and, at first, I felt scared and anxious about them. Now, however, I quite enjoy them, as they help you learn how to speak and feel less stressful. 

Casual strolls in Bologna may always surprise you

When I first arrived in Bologna, I was struck by how the city feels so old and young at the same time. I find the city's size is ideal: not too big, but neither too small. Bologna is very beautiful, and a simple “passeggiata” (Italian for “stroll”) in the city centre of the city with your friends can be super enjoyable.  

like my life in Bologna, it’s easy to get around and I live in a new residence that just opened in the outskirts of the city. "The Student Hotel” (that’s the name of the residence) hosts a big community of students: we share study rooms, common spaces, and a kitchen. I usually walk and sometimes I also take the bus, which is generally on time but, I must say, a bit crowded. Buses are a convenient and cheap way to get around the city, but walking is healthier, cheaper and much more pleasurable as you get to see the city! 

For example, last summer, I got to see this: an artistic musical movie screened of the façade of Sala Borsa. This beautiful building contains the main library of Bologna and one of the nicest places to study, not only because it provides great study spaces, but also because you can have a break in Piazza Maggiore! 

The skill you don't want to miss out on: learning Italian

My experience in Bologna has surely taught me that learning Italian is important. Above all, it is useful in your daily life and chores. Moreover, even if I attend an English program, we are still required to learn Italian for hospital trainingCLA ( the University Language Centre) offers free Italian courses for non-native speakers, this year I have attended the B1 level. For sure this course has helped me, but I think that speaking Italian on a daily basis and in many contexts is the best way to learn this and any language.  

Unibo community

Being at the Student Hotel was particularly important for me during the COVID-19 quarantine. Being part of a student community helped make it up for not going to classes or seeing my usual network of friends. Remote learning is ok and within my degree programme we are still attending laboratories in person. In general, it is easy to get used to online classes, professors are always available to clarify topics and they do their best to provide good additional material.
I must say I am grateful for the opportunity that the University of Bologna is offering me and for feeling so welcomed in Italy. I think this experience is providing me with both a great academic education, but also a new home and a new life.

Quick tips

My advice to future students would be to keep their options always open, research extensively and with an open mind, and prepare ahead of time, including documents that may require certification in their home countries, for example for fee waivers or reductions. I encourage all the students considering the University of Bologna as their next stepto apply and become part of the amazing community of the Alma Mater. 

What else can I say? “Bologna vi aspetta!