Since I was young, I have always been tempted by new experiences, and studying abroad was definitely one of them. I was fortunate to be accepted for both Institut National des Sciences Appliquéesin France and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. To choose between these two beautiful countries was hard. Finally, I chose France as their studies lasted for five years, rather than six.
"Even though I am far from my country – the support from people around me in France makes me feel at home and very comfortable."
In Tunisia, I used to meditate every morning for a few minutes, but when in France, I realize that I spent a lot of time focusing on my studies, TEDx, and my Student School Office. This kept me away from other opportunities and to discover new things. There were so many experiences that I was eager to take part in, but I was unable to during the first two years of my studies. These two years were what we call “Prepa” and it was the most difficult years that I ever had! However, I succeeded and it was one my greatest achievements in France, because more than 40% of the students fail and have to go back home (you do not get a second chance!). I admit this made me a little bit stressed. But once these two years were finished, I was having a new life. I got to travel to five countries in just one year: Malta, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania and Sweden. I became a member of the Board of European Students of Technology. I have time to volunteer with humanitarian organizations. I became occupied with the Rotary and Rotaract. And guess what? I still have the time for my studies and succeed even better!
"My home in France is definitely a gathering place for my friends!"
One of my other real accomplishment is to make real good friends and new family. The support from my friends after the hard moments during Tunisia’s revolution has been amazing. “I am with you; I support Tunisia; Tunisia made the history; you should be proud”. These kind of messages make me feel happy and very confident. Even though I am far from my country – the support from people around me in France makes me feel at home and very comfortable. Last year, one of my best friends, Julien, came to Tunisia with me and he spent three weeks in Tunisia. It was the first time he travelled abroad and discovered a new culture. What made this experience unique was that he was not living like a tourist. He experienced true Tunisian life as he was living with me, around my family and my friends. The first day when he was eating Tunisian food, he was eating and crying – because it was so spicy!! He was truly amazed by Tunisia and I am proud of that. I am proud of having such good friends. I am proud to have really good relationships with people that I have known for just one or two years. We are just like brothers.
I believe in the quote “home is where the heart is”. This makes so much sense, because everyone you love either lives in your home, or comes to visit you! My home in France is definitely a gathering place for my friends!
Yassine Harzallah from Tunisia reflects on his accomplishments as a student in France.