Esteban is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Food Innovation and Product Design at the University of Naples Federico II. He found the programme and enrolled via Studyportals. We asked Esteban about his experience of searching and applying to a university abroad.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from?
My name is Esteban Echeverria Jaramillo. I am 26 years old and I come from Quito, Ecuador.
Where are/were you studying and what programme? What degree and how long is your programme?
I am in Napoli, Italy, undergoing a European Erasmus Mundus Master in Food Innovation and Product Design, or FIPDes for short. This programme is a specialisation after my Food engineering degree. It has taken place in Paris, France and Dublin, Ireland for the 1st and 2nd semester respectively and now my 3rd and 4th will take place in Italy.
Why did you want to study abroad?
Among the many reasons for studying abroad it is the fact that this kind of experience allows you to get access to a vaster knowledge on your subject than if you stayed home as well as it helps building a bigger perspective on how things are in other parts of the world.
Deciding for a university
What were your main priorities when choosing your university and your programme (e.g. academics, accommodation, university services & facilities, personal & professional development, city & culture, cost & funding, practicalities, social life)?
The main priority was finding a subject suitable as a next step for my undergraduate degree. This not only had to be adequate but had to be a step into achieving my future life goals. Besides from this, more practical factors that I looked into were the availability of scholarships, the prestige of the programme and the location of universities within the chosen countries to which I had narrowed down my options.
Was this your first study choice? What other universities did you consider? What was the main reason for your final choice?
This was one of two programmes to which I applied to fully. Fortunately, I got accepted in both and had to decide between them. The main reason to make my decision where the fact that the FIPDes programme involved a more complex selection as well as that it integrated three universities in three different countries which posed as a more relevant way to enhance my future career path.
Did you know from the start that you wanted to study in that particular country and city? Why did you choose this particular location?
I knew I wanted to study in Europe but not in any particular city or country. The programme was more of a factor rather than the location of it within Europe.
How did Studyportals help you in your decision process?
It helped me a lot by showing me all the options available that adjusted to my search criteria. It gave me accurate and up to date information on the application process and the content of the programmes among other valuable information.
Did you take a language test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS) when applying for the programme? If yes, which one did you choose, why and how was your experience with it?
I took the TOEFL iBT. It was a good experience that was not very difficult since I had already taken the exam three years ago.
What would be your advice for students from your country that consider studying abroad?
I would advise them to work very hard and pursue the path that they want to follow without getting discouraged on the way. It is important to be very patient and not freak out when things are taking too long to happen.
How did you finance your stay abroad and what financial advice would you give to future students?
I am financing my studies abroad with an external scholarship not affiliated with my universities. An advice is to look for any possibilities of funding very early, if possible even before applying to the chosen programme.
Why would you (not) recommend this particular city / university? How would you rate your experience on a scale from zero to ten (0 – It was a total disaster, 10 – I had the time of my life)?
I would totally recommend this programme to anyone that is interested in it. The cities I have been to and the universities that have hosted me have been great. More than the academics of it, it has taught me to live and adapt making me a better overall person. I’d rate it with a 9.
Is there anything that you would do differently if you could do it over again?
I would have applied for scholarships and migratory paperwork way earlier in order to not be panicking about not being able to start my studies on time.
What was the biggest surprise in your study abroad adventure?
As a positive surprise I found that, even though I am coming from a country in its way to development, the level of education and particularly the one from my home university is at the same level as the one that I found abroad.
Additionally, after meeting people from many different parts of the world throughout this journey, I am surprised by how diverse human beings are in some aspects, but at the same time, how equal we are on others, regardless of your origin.
Were you inspired by Esteban's story?