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This adventure started by chance. It was one of the usual hectic afternoons of a typical student: busy between lessons, books to study, projects to prepare, meanwhile a thousand of ideas and dreams in the head.

I still remember that cold December day of last year, when, in order to take refuge from a storm, I decided seek shelter in a library, in which, while waiting to be able to go home, I decided to surf on the site of the University of Pavia and something took me to Erasmus Overseas.

From that moment, I started to fantasize and daydream with my mind. For me it would have ended up there, but that "light" that had turned on was too strong, even if time passed by of, this idea refused to leave, I casually continued to meet students who had the chance to study abroad, and all had sparkling eyes when they talked about their journey.

So this desire became stronger each day, to the point of deciding to register, not knowing what I was doing.

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The challenge began when my request, sent a little superficially, really had an answer. It took 13 months including: selections, exams, requests for various documents, insurances, scholarships and validations, but here I am in Beirut, a totally unknown city, but that I can already consider as a home.

The choice of the country in reality is still not entirely clear to me, but I believe that something has wanted me to come right here and day after day I am capturing its essence.

Lebanon is a totally different country from mine, but it made me feel part of it since arriving at the airport, where I had a very warm welcome from my professors: Dr. Mirna Fawaz and Dr. Mohammad Itani, who obviously took me immediately to taste typical Lebanese food, realizing that I would not miss my mother's lasagna that much!

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The reception in the following days was also amazing, starting from the university: the dean, the professors, the secretaries, the schoolmates and even the security guards... everyone was fundamental in the phase of my settling in, which continues to evolve.

Beyond the quality of the structure, the very stimulating interactive lessons and the many activities offered by the university, I am also having the great opportunity to participate to very interesting conferences, and also to activities called "community service" that give us the opportunity to apply the theoretical notions in a concrete way and above all at a social level, such as going to do prevention programs and basic medical check ups in schools, entertainment in a geriatric clinic.

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In addition, in BAU I am having the opportunity to work on a research project, to do deepening courses on topics I'm particularly interested in, such as oncology, health education and addictive substances, as well experiencing new subjects such as IPE ( Interprofessional education and collaboration) which allows to all the healthcare team to learn to work together and I'm also learning to play basketball!

Unfortunately, I am in Beirut only for the spring semester, this means I am already halfway of this unique journey, and as the people have taught me here, “Inschallah”, maybe it's just the beginning of a special connection with this fascinating country.



Lavinia Fontana