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Ghanaian Student In Italy Shares His Condition Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Daniel Israel Kakou is one of the 17 Ghanaian students who were awarded the European Union Erasmus Mundus Scholarship to study in some notable universities in Europe. The European Union’s Erasmus Mundus program aims at enhancing quality in Higher education through scholarship and academic cooperation between the European Union and the rest of the world. This scholarship gives them the opportunity to study in at least two different universities in Europe before returning back to Ghana.

Mr. Kakou breaks silence amidst this COVID-19 pandemic.

“I had this scholarship after my service as a national service person. I got here in September 2019 together with other 16 Ghanaian students. I am reading MSc. Mathematics modeling in Engineering. It is a kind of joint program which I’m supposed to study in three different universities. I am currently done with my studies with the University of L’Aquila, Italy, and now have an online lecture with University of Hamburg, Germany because of the COVID-19. All my documents and visa were ready. I even bought my plane ticket to travel to Germany to continue my education before this pandemic revealed its ugly head. After my study at the University of Hamburg, I’ll proceed to France precisely in the city of Nice to further my education in the University of Côte d’Azur to finish my program.

              *My experience in University of L’Aquila, Italy*

As an Alumnus of one pedantic University in Ghana, I thought that I was on top. I later realised that I’ve got a lot to do. Our first lecture made it undoubtedly clear that I was lagging far behind. I was totally confused and discouraged that I thought I can’t make it here. What I did was to do extra reading on some important topics to be able to catch up with them. We do 30 credit hours in a week. We attend lectures throughout the week. We had less time for private studies and a limited time to rest. Every Friday of the week, we wrote mid-semester exams which was compulsory and formed part of our assessment. You can decide not to write the final exams if you did well in the previous mid. semester exams.

                                   *E- learning*

We were enrolled on the E-learning platforms but we started using it effectively when the COVID-19 set-in.

                               *Source of survival*

The Erasmus firm has its coordinators on campus who communicates with us every day. My programme’s Alumni also have an association in the country where every beneficiary of the scholarship automatically becomes a member of it. We pay £500 as two academic years dues. These alumni do almost everything for us because they know the system and equally understand the Italian language. They helped us to apply for grants from the Italian government and the European Union. The monies acquired through this process was what had really helped us here. Aside from that, our Guardians seldomly send us some money through the western union.

                                      *Challenges*

We didn’t have time for social life here so we were happy going to Hamburg, Germany. We read 5 courses which were time-consuming. The system was not flexible and couldn’t afford to fail. Also, we experienced this kind of racism act here. Some were very cool and friendly especially the old people but for some young people, they’re very rude and unfriendly. They won’t even respond to you when you need assistance all because you’re black. Moreover, we experienced one or two mal earthquake. We saw our hostel shaking. We were very terrified and thought that was our end. Hehehe! Eny3 easy ooo hmmm! Financial challenges can’t be overlooked. I pay the equivalent of Ghc1, 200 as my monthly hostel bill. So you can imagine.

                                    *Benefits*

My greatest benefit is the program I’m currently reading over here, it’s moving on smoothly. Aside from that, I have been exposed to several scholarship opportunities and other great opportunities. All in all, people who didn’t regard me now call me and now treat me in high esteem and that challenges me to do more.

         *Advice to colleagues students in Ghana*

You know, my philosophy is that the disappointment of the past will always turn into testimonies. I will entreat them to endure and learn from this E-learning system. Nothing new is easy. As you can see, people are now holding meetings online via zoom, Microsoft Teams, Adobe connect etc. This is the time to get abreast of these online opportunities. They should embrace and endure it, everything will be fine.

A story reported by :
EMMANUEL ANKRAH BARTELS
HON. BARTELS
UNIVERSITY OF CAPE COAST
0241966135