Week of the International Student: ‘Whether we live in Breda, the USA or Brazil, we all watch Netflix’

    Alberto Mori

    Alberto Mori has been all over the world. From his home town of Fidenza in Italy to rural Kentucky USA and the slums of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz in Argentina, he’s seen it all. Now he studies International Business and Management at Avans in Breda. “I didn’t want to study in the same town I grew up in so I decided to challenge myself by going abroad.”

    Alberto Mori loves sports and learning but he really comes alive when talking about traveling. It is this subject Alberto is most passionate about and once conversation starts he can continue for hours. Alberto’s love for traveling started with an exchange to the USA when he was 17 years old. At the time he lived in Fidenza in North Italy where he was enrolled in a culinary arts school. “It was very easy but then again I was not very motivated to study,” Alberto says. “Coming to the USA was a life changing experience. It was the kick up the backside I needed to realize how great the opportunities are in Europe. You can study here and not pile up a huge debt. I came back very motivated to learn and achieve good results.”

    Baptists
    His exchange to the USA didn’t start so positive. At first Alberto lived with a highly conservative host family in rural Kentucky. They were very religious Baptists and homeschooled their own kids. Together with an exchange student from Brazil Alberto was isolated from the outside world. “I was in a very different situation than I expected, this was very challenging.”

    After a few months Alberto was moved to another host family in Louisville Kentucky (“birthplace of KFC”). “This family was really kind to me and I was able to learn English. I had an amazing time and come back there every year. I see them as a second family.”

    ‘I heard good things about Avans through two Italian friends of mine who were also studying in Breda so I decided to enroll’

    ‘We all watch Netflix’
    When Alberto came back from Kentucky he changed his studies from culinary school to business administration. Then, after his graduation, he started looking for ways to broaden his horizon. “I didn’t want to study in the same town I grew up in so I decided to challenge myself by going abroad. I heard good things about Avans through two Italian friends of mine who were also studying in Breda so I decided to enroll. It was a tough choice because there’s also a similar program in Amsterdam, which attracted me more at first. I like living in bigger cities. Avans however is more internationally oriented and I think that’s really important. We live in a globalized world, more than we realize. Whether we live in Breda, the USA or Brazil, we all watch Netflix.”

    Despite his initial doubts Alberto is happy with his choice to study at Avans. “The classes are very small here, you personally know the lecturers and the facilities are really good. It’s also very nice that my study is quite practical, which makes it more interesting.”

    ‘There was this guy who was my age and his little brother was shot in front of his house’

    Volunteering in Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz
    Last summer Alberto volunteered in a community center in Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz in Argentina. He worked on a project to help youths from poor neighborhoods learn nonviolent communication and overcoming prejudices. At times this was very challenging. “Some of these youths felt left behind by society, so there was a large gap to bridge. I met many youths who never attended school and were unable to read or write. There were girls of 15 who were pregnant for the second time.” One moment in particular left a big impression: “There was this guy who was my age and his little brother was shot in front of his house.”

    Despite this, Alberto feels really positive about his trip to Argentina. “Volunteering was the only chance for me to work with a social group like that and it felt really rewarding. I also had an amazing host family and it was a lot of fun experiencing daily life with them.”

    Lucky to live in Europe
    Alberto decided to change his appearance to connect better with the youths he was working with. “I wanted to be more relatable”, Alberto says. “So I didn’t wear a watch or bring my Iphone, for example. If you wear that stuff these youths will feel like you’re too alien and helping them becomes harder.”

    Volunteering made Alberto aware of how good life in Europe is. “At times I felt embarrassed by the contrast between my own lifestyle and these youths that sometimes didn’t even have anything to eat. If I have learned anything from my travels it is this: it is important to be grateful of what we have. We take some things for granted over here but in fact we are all very lucky to live in Europe.”

    Week of the International Student
    This is the Week of the International Student. Throughout the Netherlands events are organized for international students. Avans also participates by organizing a Stand Up comedy night in Breda and a Pubquiz in Den Bosch.

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