While writing this piece, I have been ascertaining through the treasure box of memories. I wondered what language can anticipate expressing a heart so full of excitement .. sadness … fear… excitement…and nostalgia.
In 2019, landing at Barcelona Airport–El Prat (BCN), I started my two years Erasmus Mundus academic journey started. The Master Degree in Mediterranean Forestry and Natural Resources Management (MEDfOR), a two-year world-class International Programme on the field of Forestry and Sustainability, implemented in 2012. MEDfOR’s Consortium includes globally top ranked universities and leading international research and outreach organizations in all scientific areas of interest to Mediterranean forestry and natural resources management as well as key stakeholders in the Mediterranean forest sector.
I started my first year at the University of Lleida. Later, September 2020, I moved to the University of Valladolid also in Spain for my 3rd semester. Finally, I flew to Italy to write my thesis at the University of Padova in March, 2021 .
Thinking of it back with relief, I cracked the books. I did assignments. I studied, debated, listened, learned. I passed the exams. More importantly, I have learned how to nourish myself on patatas bravas and pizza alone 😋. The essential modern art of subsisting on local food while missing your traditional dishes.
The analytical skills and information I have learned while pursuing MEDfOR’s master degree helped and will help me create a future for myselves, and many others. I got the tools to contribute to the solutions of forestry and natural resources and environmental challenges in my country and the world.
I know that this degree is not a piece of paper about higher education I pursued. Instead, it is a “welcome letter” to an international community .. The Erasmus Mundus Community.. The international Forestry Community… a community of cool friends and alumni around the world . And I’m very proud to be counted as one among of them.
Yet, knowledge of things is not enough to succeed in life.
Through this two-year experience, I have had the special opportunity to interact closely with students from around the world, students from different nations, diverse faiths, cultures, backgrounds and experiences.
I have witnessed how interconnected this world is.
How much we have in common.
How important it is to celebrate our differences ..
How valuable it is to cherish openness , creativity and talent.
Well, isnot it the essence of the vast and diverse Mediterranean History??
The history that benefited a long history of people’ interaction among each other not only the nature- interaction..…
Learning from this history, we will be able to bridge the wide gaps…and bring mutual respect to the day to day conversation…
However, things are not rosy always.. In 2020 we have experienced unimaginable hardship.. Sure, you all know it! The world was in a race against a pandemic. And, as a student pursuing my MEDfOR master ‘s degree in Spain, my dominant emotion was anxiety. What direction would the narrative of MEDfOR during COVID-19 take?
Yet, this pandemic marked an opportunity to renovate the education system so that it better meets the needs of all of us, learners and educators. We observed the benefits of the flexible education system. During COVID-19 Pandemic, online learning solutions were, literally, a shot in the arm for education for all.
Has travel affected the way I see the world?
Undoubtedly – YES, as it does for most people, I reckon.
The more I travel to new places and experience different cultures, learn about different traditions, and listen to people’s experiences…the more I realize how much we have in common… connecting to a world of limitless possibility.
Last, but by no means least, I would like to acknowledge all who supported me through this journey… my family, teachers, and administrators. To all of them a big ‘thank you’