#StudyAbroadBecause The World Is Your Stage

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

From Rio to Milan, Nicolas Perin Peres has followed his dreams. A student of Bocconi University, he's currently studying at SMU in Dallas, Texas. You can find him online at https://pagesofajourney.wordpress.com/

Nicolas Perin Peres : #StudyAbroadBecause The World Is Your Stage

What motivated your decision to come to the U.S.?

If I look back in time, I think I've always wanted to come to the U.S. I had a sort of dream inside of me, growing year by year as I grew up, too. A Country full of opportunities and different stories, a place where people went to search for a better chance in life and start their research into and pursuit of happiness.

I wanted that chance too, and the U.S. seemed like a place where I could find all that I wanted: a better climate, a better chance to meet different kinds of people, a better chance to find love, and last but not least, a better chance to find work, and especially to find work in the field I've always loved: Entertainment Industry.

So when I saw the Exchange program at my university (Bocconi University, Milan, Italy) I said to myself "this is my big chance." I have to admit, it was not easy to get in the program because competition is crazy and there are only few spots for the program, but I worked hard to have the highest GPA possible and finally I could make it. When I saw the results, I was very happy and proud because I was going to make part of my big dream come true: I was admitted for the program in the U.S. at SMU in Dallas, Texas.

What has your experience been like so far?

The overall experience has been very good! I met a lot of interesting and nice people along the way, some of them were with me only briefly in my short time in the U.S., others I see every day, but every one and each of them gave me something and taught me something about America, their culture, life. 

I also had to deal with some unpleasant people, like there are in all the parts of the world (for instance, my friends and I where scammed by the managers of a house complex we were applying to stay during our period in Dallas), but the good thing is that those people were not able to spoil our experience.

What do you like most about studying in the U.S.?

I love the fact that most of my classes don't have a final exam, no I'm just kidding (probably). The interesting thing is that professors require a very active participation in class and a lot of daily work (like high school daily homework) , both things I don't enjoy too much but that give me the opportunity to make a full immersion in culture and lifestyle. This is a great opportunity to see and try to understand different ways of addressing topics, solving problems, and overall different ways of seeing life.

What are some challenges you have faced while studying here? 

One of the main challenges while studying in the U.S. is not linked to school, language, or people, but it is mostly financial. I didn't think that the U.S. could be so expensive: the price of food is very high if I want to eat like I do at home, health insurance is crazy and it doesn't cover 100%, but above all, finding an accommodation was a tough struggle! Nobody wanted to rent to us because we did not have an American bank account at that time and we didn't have a SSN. Unfortunately, the host university could not help us providing on campus accommodation, like Bocconi University does for the incoming international exchange students, so we were on our own. Luckily at the end we found some good places to stay.

Like I said, in the long run, these things won't matter and only the good stuff will remain in our memories, so it is not a big deal, but was challenging.

What skills have you developed so far from your experience?

Since I arrived in America, I think my speaking and understanding of the language have grown at a faster pace, and I feel so much more confident while talking in English and not only in everyday life but also in different specific situations, i.e., school, debates, negotiations, and so on.

Plus, I've proved to myself that I can be more independent, because in Italy I live in Milan, but still it is only a 4-hour ride to go back home, while here I have to do everything by myself because I can't rely 100% on my family and friends on the other side of the world.

In addition, I think I've become a better problem solver because I did have to find quick solutions to big problems I encountered along my way to and in the U.S.

Nicolas Perin Peres : #StudyAbroadBecause The World Is Your Stage

Do you feel changed thus far from your time abroad? 

Yes, I feel more confident in having to take care of myself and more comfortable in talking a language different than my mother tongue and this is only because I had to do everything on my own to "survive" and move on with my life.

Also, being in another country (that I idealized a lot over the years) and seeing/living the reality of this country, made me put everything into perspective and do a more precise evaluation of my country. I thought that Italy, and Europe in general, were far behind the U.S. but in reality this is not true. Every country has its pros and cons, and this experience made me realize that my vision was extremely biased. I think this is a good thing, because I still want to go around the world and maybe live in different places than Italy or Europe, but now I know what I'm leaving and all my decisions can be more accurate and less biased by my dreams and idealized realities.

How has international education impacted or influenced your cultural identity?

International education has had a great impact on my cultural identity. It gave me the chance to improve my understanding of language and culture, also I was able to become friends with people all over the world who can teach you more than a thousand books. I was forced to think outside the box and go out of my comfort zone, but doing that in a relatively safe environment like school is. And all of these things made me grow both academically and as a human being.

Why do you think international education is important?

I think that in a world characterized by a melting pot of cultures, languages, and beliefs, an international education is for sure one great way of expanding your knowledge of different cultures and lifestyles. You have to work with people from different parts of the world, thus being able to see and understand their points and get used to different behavior patterns, and this gives you a very big competitive advantage that you can leverage on when competing in the international marketplace. 

Moreover, I think the world is evolving into a bigger unique market in which everyone of us is a tiny little wheel, and being able to understand and work together with the other wheels is the only way to make the big machine function well and produce benefits for all of us.


#StudyAbroadBecause The World Is Your Stage  


All photos courtesy and copyright Nicolas Perin Peres