YOUniversity: Lamia is making the most of her international experience

Lamia is a Ca' Foscari student from Zimbabwe, who chose to move to Venice for her Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, International Studies and Economics - PISE. This brilliant future diplomat is having the time of her life in Venice and she surely has some very sound advice for prospective international students. 

What made you choose Italy and more specifically Ca’ Foscari for your studies?

I chose to study at Ca' Foscari because I definitely wanted to study somewhere in Europe and I saw it as a great opportunity to learn about the Italian language and culture. I also liked the fact that the course I was most interested in – PISE (Philosophy, International Studies and Economics), is taught entirely in English. Furthermore, I really appreciated how well networked Ca’ Foscari is in terms of internships and study abroad opportunities and they never miss an opportunity to bring the most remarkable individuals to give talks that are open to all students!

What do you feel is the biggest difference between your home-country and Italy? What is your favorite thing in Venice?

There are so many differences between Zimbabwe and Italy, however the one mutual thing between the two is that both are beautiful countries, in terms of landscape. Zimbabwe is a landlocked country, although we do have lakes and rivers. I find it very fascinating to be surrounded by open water in Venice, however, I really do miss the greenery, the weather and wildlife that Zimbabwe has spoiled me with throughout my life.

On arrival in Italy, I was taken aback by how stylish Italian young and older people are. I was also surprised by the distinction between northern Italians and southern Italians. Being born and raised in Zimbabwe, I was also shocked by the fact that older people expected me to refer to them by their first name, whereas in Zimbabwe, as a sign of respect, we will almost always refer to our elders as Mrs/Mr/Sir/Madam.

My favourite places in Venice are Campo San Barnaba, possibly because of the Gelateria – Grom. I also love watching sunsets form Zattere and studying at the library in San Giorgio! My friends and I are regulars at Sudest – a hidden café close to Zattere. I particularly love the Orient Experience and African Experience, because the food at both places reminds me a lot about the food that I eat back home.

Can you tell us about the most memorable experience you’ve lived here so far? 

Admittedly, I have had many, but for the sake of brevity, I will only list a few, in no particular order. A few weeks ago, I received an email from the university about the annual Afropean Bridges event. I had attended the first edition last year and I was looking to follow through on the tradition this year. When I looked at the program, I couldn’t believe that a journalist/blogger that I have been following for a few years, would be speaking. I attended the event and I was extremely excited to get the chance to meet Minna Salami afterwards! I have also really enjoyed my experiences, participating in the Venice Universities’ Model United Nations/Model European Union conferences and meeting like-minded people! Finally, I really enjoyed my first ever experience of the angel’s flight in the Venice carnival in February 2018! It was surreal, I had never imagined that I would experience such a profound event.

What advice would you give to other students who are considering moving abroad?

Firstly, I would encourage anyone and everyone to study abroad at least once in their lives. There is so much to be learnt through taking yourself out of your comfort zone. I would also recommend prospective students to do their research thoroughly; it helps to make sure that you know exactly what your course entails, make sure you will be comfortable in your accommodation (the area/the room type/ the dormitory) and try to know some basic words and phrases in the local language (You will be so grateful for it!) Lastly, just take the leap! It tends to be a lot scarier in your head.

Do you have any plans for the future? Or do you prefer living in the moment? What would be your dream career?

My anxiety does not allow me to be a ‘live in the moment’ type of person. I am the type of person that needs a clear objective to strive to attain in order to keep me motivated. I will do my final year of my bachelor’s degree abroad, at the University College London, beginning in September 2019. I was presented with this great opportunity through the Erasmus+ program! I hope to graduate in July 2020, and thereafter I hope to proceed to do a Masters in Law, hopefully in Canada! In the future, I see myself working as a diplomat in an organization that is primarily involved in protecting the rights of women and children. I do believe that serving others in this field is my calling!

Francesca Favaro