This chapter of my life began when I landed at Milan Malpensa Airport. It was very a relief after the pandemic made it a struggle to get to Italy. When I stepped out of the airport, I took a deep breath and told myself that this is my journey, it is an experience in which I will know more about myself and my potential. It is a new milestone in my career shift from clinical medicine to the field of research and development. So, I charged myself with positive energy and took my ride to my new home.
I arrived in Novara and met my new flatmates, people who came from different cultures and backgrounds. This would be another learning experience along with the academic knowledge that I was striving to gain.
The government-mandated two-week home quarantine made me eager to go out and discover my new town in northern Italy. The two weeks passed very quickly, and I had my first steps in Novara, this lovely small town, where I immediately felt relieved and happy. The people of Novara were very kind, although not knowing Italian was a struggle. However, people were always eager to help, and I could see their happiness to help in their eyes. Starting the new experience at the University of East Piedmont was the right thing, because all the pieces of the puzzle fit, and it is the experience that I wanted. Our program coordinators, professors, staff, and my colleagues were enthusiastic to get started, after facing all the limitations and trauma of the ongoing pandemic.
Time passed very quickly, and along with all the skills and new knowledge I gained, I learned a lot about myself, and I learned about Italy and its amazing people. Novara, this small town, made me grow very fast, allowing me to learn more about who I am as a person, and how to be open to new experiences.
Perhaps my favorite part was learning Italian and trying to apply what I learned in everyday practice. The encouragement I felt from the people around me made me more confident.
A one year can influence you very much, and the impact it leaves is eternal. There were many laughs, smiles, and tears, and other deep feelings throughout our time there. Now that this chapter has concluded, I know that the memories I gained will always be there to remind me of how I grew as a person to be who I am today.