The other – and not dark at all – side of SCOPE/SCORE: Italy

September is the month of the “coming back home” : the most part oh the exchanges take place during summer, and this is usually the week when each “exchange student” sums up his own experience .
What about us? What do we have left to colleagues we hosted? What would they remember about the cities and the people with whom they shared this experience?
This month on Zona SISMica: Carolina Lobato from Portugal , Kevin Menolty Candray from El Salvador , Marija Milutinović from Serbia talk about their Italian experience!

CarolinaHello everyone! I am Carolina, I am from Portugal and I am a medical student at Institute for the Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, University of Porto. But, last August [August 2016], I was a medical student at the University of Palermo, Italy. This was one of the best experiences of my life! I am now in a cafeteria in my hometown and, as I try to write down this whole month in Palermo, I see it flashing by in front of me just like a lovely remake of “Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain”!
Palermo has the largest exchange group in the world and it rapidly became clear why: it counts with eighty-five incomings from more than thirty-five countries plus forty people from the staff, who were always with us (they even slept in our dorm in case we needed anything!). So, as you probably already understood by now, one of the best things Palermo had to offer was the people. The people on the streets were really nice and, because Italian is a language with tons of open vowels, they always sound really happy, althought how miserable they might be. I also made some great friends: Rwanda, Denmark and Poland will stay forever in my heart; and, of course, the Italians will too!!
The city of Palermo is overall very poor. There is a rich neighborhood where one finds the most expensive and famous brands worldwide, but, within a ten-minutes-walk from the city historical center, I found the most dirty streets I had ever seen in my life (I have never travelled out of Europe, though) with gorgeous fruit street markets that smelled like rubbish.
The hospital was also a little disappointing. In my department, doctors really made an effort to explain the subjects to you the best they could, but their English is really very pitiable: most of them only know some few English words; four of them spoke no English at all (interns included!), but two of them were surprisingly good at it! They also lacked basic procedures, such as the routine of sterilizing their hands between visiting different patients. Nevertheless, I learned a lot and I am very grateful to the service for everything they have done for me!
Lastly, I must give a highlight to the social program: the staff managed to put up eight parties only for us, seven day-long tours through Sicily and two days of discover of the best Palermo has to offer. This was my first exchange, but it was every incoming’s opinion this was the very best social program they had ever been part of.
In sum, I could not have asked for a better experience. The food, the trips, the people… How could anyone not love it?! And what was not that good, was an opportunity to grow! Palermo changed me forever: it taught me how to put my life into perspective and to seize to moment. It made me realize how blessed and fortunate I am, it gave me people and memories that will stick to my heart forever! We have a Portuguese saying that translates to “What’s good, does not last forever!” and I find it the most accurate. I am sad it is over, but I am really really glad it happened!!
Thank you for reading! See you soon, Palermo…

Carolina de Brito Lobato

MarijaAs soon as i found out that i was going to Sicily for an exchange, i expected a lot from it… My mind instantly started visualising beautiful beaches, stunning natural wonders, italian food, unique archicteture… When I came here, I found everything  was as imagined, but the fact that surprised me the most, is that Catania gave me even more, much more:amazing hospitality provided by the Local Committiee, specific spirit and optimism that fulfilled each moment  spent in this unforgetable place.The time spent here was the time worth living for, shared with so many people who showed me the beauty of their cultures and made me richer for the amazing friendships all over the world. That is something you can’t put a value on.

Marija Milutinović

kevinTo come to Italy has always been a dream for me, since I was a small kid, and finally, on June, it has become reality.
I travelled 12 hours by plane and meanwhile all I could think was “Today the dream of my life comes true”.
I arrived in Rome, and after falling in love with the capital of the world, I took a train to Campobasso for a new adventure as medical student, but overall a life experience.
As soon as I arrived, I received a warm welcome from the SCOPE’s LEO Luigi Petrella, who made me feel as if I have lived in Campobasso for a long time. I felt like I was part of a family. During the month I met the other exchange students from around the world who became with time my friends, people with whom I lived wonderful adventures, not only in Campobasso but also around the rest of Italy.
Each day we went to the hospital, where everyone learned so much from our tutors! This has been an incredible learning experience that we are glad to take home and keep it as part of our knowledge to become better doctors.
Campobasso is a beautiful place and now it’s full of memories for me, I will never forget all friends I met and all of the experiences I’ve had. I can only summarize this month here as the best I’ve had in my whole life.
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Kevin Menolty Candray