Originally from Afghanistan

Studying Political Science with a Minor in Communications, Italy

Baryali's Story

My mother is illiterate and I have studied very little back in Afghanistan, as I had to work from a very young age to support my family. This did not stop me from building a new life in a new country and even attending university.

Having the ability to speak seven languages has proved to be very helpful, as it gave me the opportunity to work at several migrant reception centres as a cultural mediator. People tend to confuse mediators with interpreters, but there is a big difference between the two roles. An interpreter is someone who simply listens and then converts the same words to a different language, whereas a mediator is someone who negotiates between parties to find a mutually beneficial agreement.

“I could not believe it when I found out that I was granted a full scholarship to attend university in Rome!”

As a mediator I mostly worked with unaccompanied minors. Working with children is not an ordinary job, it requires a lot of patience and positivity. Kids will inevitably look up to you and you must be ready to take on a positive leadership role for them. I used to tell the children I worked with: “Listen, I don’t want to walk for you, but I want to walk with you.” What I tried to show them was that even though their personal situations were very hard, as children, they had so many opportunities and a future ahead of them.

After working in the different migrant reception centres for years, I decided that I wanted to start studying again and earn a Bachelor’s degree. My main reason was so that I could find employment at a managerial level in an international organization. I could not believe it when I found out that I was granted a full scholarship to attend university in Rome!

I believe dialogue is key when it comes to creating a welcoming and cohesive, multicultural society. That is why I love studying Political Science with a minor in Communications at John Cabot University in Rome; it gives me the theoretical skills to open up this dialogue with others. Through studying at the university I also met my mentor, Professor Pavoncello, who is the president of the university. I admire his energy and his interest in the students’ ambitions and dreams.

While studying for my degree, I also work in administration at the university’s front desk and I volunteer with an association called ‘Cucimondo’, which aims to raise awareness on the importance of a multicultural society through culinary events. Even though I am studying full-time. I never completely stopped working. I believe that if you work hard, you are able to achieve a great deal.

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