Nicole Borettaz and Carola Rosso traveled more than 6,000 kilometers to pursue their university studies at UQAR. Completing a semester of their respective baccalaureate at the Rimouski campus, these Italian students took advantage of the mobility program to enjoy a truly international experience.
It was on August 25, 2021 that they put their suitcases down in Rimouski, after receiving the news in February about the possibility of completing part of their studies in La Belle Province.
“I discovered UQAR when my university in Italy, the University of the Aosta Valley, presented the opportunity to come and study for a semester in Quebec. I chose the University of Quebec in Rimouski after looking at the student life it offered, but also its geographical position. Honestly, I had never thought before of spending a period of my life in Canada and even less in Quebec, but for the moment I am really delighted to have participated in this experience and to be here today!”
– Carola Rosso, originally from Biella, in the Piedmont region
In Italy, Ms. Rosso studies in the “Languages and cultures for business and tourism” program. As there is no bachelor’s degree in language at UQAR, she takes courses in literature, administration and communication. “The main difference I’ve noticed between my Italian university and UQAR is the closeness between professors and students. In Italy, we always address professors in a formal manner and there’s still quite a distance with students. While here, teachers are generally familiar with and even called by their first name, which is unthinkable in Europe. I like the familial and relaxed atmosphere here at the University, even with the administrative staff!
Born in Issogne, Nicole Borettaz is enrolled in the baccalaureate program in preschool education and primary education. “I think school plays a fundamental role in the life of a child, as well as that of adults. A teacher should be able to positively influence a student’s school experience, so that they can become passionate about their studies and stay motivated. In fact, the role of the teacher is not always properly recognized, even if it is essential in the school career of the students,” she says.
Since her arrival for a four-month exchange, Ms. Borettaz has noticed a significant difference in university education.
“Courses at UQAR approach concepts in a more concrete way, which is different compared to Italy, where courses are much more theoretical and notional. An observation shared by Carola Rosso. “At UQAR, everything is more “applied”, more practical, because we analyze a lot of cases, even topical ones, and we are often graded on projects or files on which we have to work on ourselves by applying the concepts seen during lessons. Yes, it can be more demanding, but it’s more engaging and satisfying work than just studying and not seeing the application of what you study.”
– Nicole Borettaz, originally from Issogne, Italy
Nicole Borettaz will continue her exchange at UQAR in the winter term of 2022. Upon her return to Italy, she will continue her five-year university education. “I have two more years left. I would love to have the opportunity to travel and go to another country next year to live another authentic and enriching experience. After my studies in education, I would like to continue my studies in psychology, a field that interests me a lot,” underlines the student who took advantage of her stay in Rimouski to improve her French.
For her part, Carola Rosso finished her baccalaureate in the 2021 fall term. “When I return to Italy, I will go abroad again to do an internship in a company. I don’t know where or in what industry yet, but I’m interested in social media management, marketing and business. I think that these days it is important to have a variety of experiences, not only professional, but even life, in order to be able to create a career that I love.”
One thing is certain, the two Italian students will leave with a wealth of experience and knowledge. “I really like being a student at UQAR, because I really feel that I am part of a community. I know a lot of students like me, even international ones, partly thanks to the fact that I live in the residences too. I feel that this experience is forming me not only academically, but also as a person, and I am delighted! concludes Ms. Rosso.