Being a student at the International College: an interview with Margherita


Margherita is a student at the Ca' Foscari International College, the honours university college that provides talented high-achieving students with a specialist education, offering them an exclusive campus on the San Servolo island
Along with the standard courses offered within their degree programme, students engage in a wide variety of cultural activities, interdisciplinary lectures and workshops aimed at providing theoretical knowledge and specific expertise, all in English. Thanks to the diverse cultural and disciplinary backgrounds of both its students and  teachers, the College hosts a lively community that creates a stimulating environment for outstanding students to excel. 

Margherita has spent the last three years in the San Servolo campus and today she's here to tell us about the typical day of an International College student and how this special experience has changed her life.

How did you find out about the Ca’ Foscari International College? How was the application process? 

I found out about the existence of the International College through plain and simple word of mouth: my uncle lives in Venice and he heard very good things about the College, so he suggested I apply. Lucky for me, the application process turned out to be extremely straightforward. I made sure I met all the requirements, I sent in my curriculum and my B2 English certificate, so I was able to take the written entry test. Soon after I was notified of the oral exam and, last but not least, I received the final results and my ranking. 

Could you describe a typical day as a student at the International College? 

The College is situated on the San Servolo island, a location that, in some way or another, affects most of our daily activities.
In the morning, I have class in Venice, so my day often starts with me catching a vaporetto (waterbus, ed.). The daily commute from San Servolo to Venice and back can be difficult to handle at first, but at the same time I find it’s one of the best moments of the whole day. The trip is beautiful, especially at sunset. The vaporetto allows us to experience the Venetian lagoon in a unique way.
After class, we often attend special workshops and courses that are exclusive to the College programme, which can take place in Venice or in San Servolo. 

Once I’m back on the island, I usually have dinner with the other College students. We have a common dining room where most of us cook and eat. Dinners are the perfect occasion to gather round, share ideas and just enjoy each other's company. I live with girls and boys from all over the world and this international dimension gave me the chance to try out delicious food from China, Vietnam, Uzbekistan and Honduras
In the evening, we sometimes meet up to organize projects and events, while some of us get together to run the Linea 20 cultural blog.
Right next to out dormitories, there’s a marvelous reading room just for college students with the most breathtaking view on the lagoon.
We all come here together to study for exams - it’s a special place where we can share our problems but also our accomplishments

Would you recommend the International College to other students? What makes this experience so special? 

From an educational point of view, the college gave me so much: aside from my Bachelor’s degree programme in Languages, Culture and Society of Japan, during the last 3 years I was also able to attend classes and courses on environmental sustainability - as a matter of fact, I basically had the chance to pursue a second study path.
College classes have a very limited number of students, which allowed me to build a privileged relationship with faculty members.
During our last year, we were also given the chance to fully actualize a urban renovation project in Mestre, where we put into practice our knowledge on sustainability.
Nevertheless, I'd say the best part of this experience is definitely the relationship with other students. Becoming friends with intellectually stimulating people makes you evolve as a person. We often engage in endless conversations on the most random topics until well into the night and some of our best ideas have sparked from these very conversations.
In the last three years I’ve learned so much on a myriad of subjects, from linguistics to logic. Moreover, the island makes for a one-of-a-kind environment in terms of team building, we all feel very close to one another. 

Do you have any interesting anecdotes on your College experience? 

These three years in San Servolo have been so much fun. We’ve established our own little traditions like the freshman party, the end of the year party, the spring brunches or the garden dinners in summer. More recently, we’ve also began organizing days where we gather to freely share our knowledge on something we’ve studied. During the last meeting, students from many different universities talked about economy and corruption, how to read and analyze a poem or how memes are influencing American politics. The goal is to create workshops where teaching and learning aren’t just passive activities, but they’re part of a dynamic interchange of information.

Applications for the Ca' Foscari International College are open until May 2nd, 2019! To know more about entry requirements and how to enroll, visit the dedicated page.

Francesca Favaro