Our testimonials: Don Niko

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Our testimonials: Don Niko


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Meet Don Niko from Philippines

Student of Astrophysics and Cosmology


"The faculty is filled with many renowned scientists and researchers, and the facilities available to students are modern and advanced"


Meet Don Niko

    Why did you decide to study abroad in Italy?    

What attracted me to study in the University of Padua is how the MS course was structured. Among the many universities in Europe that I looked into, the courses offered by the university were a perfect fit for what I was looking for. I also looked at the history of the university as well as the faculty, research and publications. The Department of Physics and Astronomy is one of the best in the world, even at the same level with the leading universities around the globe. The faculty is filled with many renowned scientists and researchers, and the facilities available to students are modern and advanced, even some of them are state-of-the-art and famous among international research collaborations. They also have a very high standard of research publication. Even the university itself is founded on many historical people in various fields, giving it a rich scientific, artistic and academic heritage. The city of Padua is also a perfect match for me as it is a calm, beautiful and friendly environment where you will find inspiration during your stay. As for Italy itself, it is famous for many things like food, culture, history, arts and many more, so it is an added bonus to experience this during my study.

    Had you visited Italy before?    

Yes, my first visit was for an international workshop held at ICTP, Trieste last April-May, 2019. It was from this workshop that I was inspired to study in Italy. I have learned a lot and met many amazing scientists and researchers which gave me an excellent experience in scientific collaboration and research. After the workshop, I went for a short tour around Italy and it made me fall in love with the food, culture, landscape and architecture of the country.

    Have you always wanted to study abroad?    

Yes. As of now, the Philippines is not yet developed in terms of education and research in Astrophysics and Cosmology. And so, there is no opportunity to pursue this line of research in my country. Apart from this, I was aiming to receive a higher quality of education and training to prepare me for my future career. Experiencing other cultures and environments will also broaden my perspective and qualities as a person.

    What are you studying? Can you tell us a bit about your study experience so far?    

I am studying MS Astrophysics and Cosmology under the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Padua with a scholarship from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. My experience so far is nothing but amazing. Starting from the process of enrollment and transitioning to a new environment, the university has been very professional and helpful in every step of the way which made it easier to adjust to the university life. For the academics, the level of knowledge, teaching, training and research I am receiving is indeed very high, especially the theoretical aspects. The teaching, demonstration, observation, practical and examination methods are also well executed. You also have access to well-equipped facilities, observatories, laboratories, libraries and student areas. The academic community is very helpful and responsive in addressing the needs and problems of the students. The university also offers various services to take care of the well-being of the students, as well as provide many opportunities, activities and events outside the academic life.

    What have you enjoyed the most so far about studying and living in Italy?    

The university life is very stimulating. Many learning opportunities are available both academically and vocationally. There are various social, cultural, environmental, religious and volunteering activities within and outside the university. You can also participate in events, seminars, workshops and many more offered by the university to increase your experience beyond the classrooms. There are also exchange programs that you can avail to broaden your international experience. You can even work part-time jobs to earn income to help in the expenses. The international interaction is also an advantage as you get to meet different cultures, and learn to communicate and understand beyond borders. Here they respect diversity and internationalization so the community is welcoming and living is comfortable. Traveling is also easy because the transportation system is well-developed and there are special lanes and areas for biking so you can go around safely.

    What is it like living in Italy? What is the student lifestyle like?    

It’s like stepping into history. Everywhere I go, I see beautiful and historical surroundings. There are a lot of museums and parks where you can relax and enjoy. The food is also very delicious so your palate will be satisfied. The Italians are very sociable and have a strong sense of community so there are various social gatherings and meals together to get to know others and to make new friends. The immersive experience is unforgettable and life-changing.

    How do you like to spend your free time when you’re not studying?    

I spend my free time learning new things, like music, photography, culinary and practical skills as well as do basic exercises. I also do volunteering in non-profit and religious organizations. On the side, I do some small online work and business to earn extra income. From time to time I go out with friends to socialize and try new flavors of Italian dishes, even travel and tour with them around Italy.

    What was it like to immerse yourself in the local culture?    

One of the most important thing to learn is the language. The Italian language is very beautiful to the ears, especially when you sing it, and the nonverbal gestures are also interesting. I’ve been learning the Italian language and have been listening and singing some of the Italian songs. Cooking Italian dishes is also a good experience because you can learn directly from your friends and you have the authentic ingredients and recipes in Italy. Because of the student discounts, it’s an amazing experience to visit museums and theaters as well as cultural and historical places in Italy.

    What is/was the most interesting thing you have learned about Italian culture?    

The Italians have high regard and dedication to food. Everywhere I go, the conversation will always have food in it. The way they prepare and craft their food is astonishing. For me, the Italian food is one of the best in the world. Learning it and making it is in itself an art. Once you taste the Italian pizza, pasta and gelato, food will never be the same again. The art and architecture is very grand. Visiting the museums and theaters, even just walking around various cities, will inspire you. The music is very beautiful too. That is why many opera pieces and musical notations are in Italian. Here you get to listen to them live, both opera and orchestra. Yes, there’s plenty more to enjoy.

    Have you had an opportunity to explore Italy? If so, what are some tourist experiences you would recommend?    

Yes. Italy’s cities have their own charms. There are big cities like Rome and Milan filled with beautiful architectures and art, the beautiful mountains of Asiago, the hidden gems of the small cities of Padova, Vicenza, Parma and Trieste, the historic attraction of Verona and Florence, and the unique waterways of Venice. Aside from the beautiful places to visit, always find time to taste the local specialties of each place and spend time with the people, friends and locals you meet. Don’t rush the experience. As you travel, bask in the glory of what Italy is.

    What advice would you give to someone who is considering moving abroad to study in Italy?    

Make sure that you check thoroughly the degree you want to pursue. Since you will spend years of your life studying it, be certain of what you really want out of the degree. Consider also the university and where it is located so that the environment will match your personality and will be an inspirational push to your studies. Check out possible opportunities that will help you pursue your career and prepare well all the requirements so that you won’t have any problems. If everything seems right, don’t hesitate, do it and give it your best so you won’t regret anything in the end. When you are in Italy, live a life beyond the academia. Although the level of education is quite advanced, don’t spend all your time in books. You are in one of the most marvelous places on the earth. Experience that and live through that. Be wise with your time and money so that you can have the most wonderful experience in Italy. Get out from the comfort of your own world and discover the people, the places, the culture and everything Italy has to offer. Don’t lose yourself in the process and be an influence of positive change. Lastly, have faith. You are where you’re supposed to be, believe and find meaning in the path you take. You’re going to be alright.

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