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University of Minnesota Scholarship Winner Blog 2017 - Sohrab Rostami

January 2018

During the Christmas break I went to Calabria to visit and spend time with a friend.  My friend and her family are from Cardeto, a small town situated twenty minutes outside the city of Reggio Calabria. They were very hospitable and made me feel at home for the entire time I was there.  It was for sure a culture shock because the grandparents of my friend could not speak Italian, that is to say that they could only speak in dialect. As a result, there were definitely times when I really had to try hard to make myself understood.  One of my biggest dreams came true during this trip, and that was to share a meal with Italians from the south.  I have a particular attraction for the south of Italy, that is to say I am in love with the southern regions of Italy.  

For Christmas we made pasta al forno together and then we enjoyed petrali, a traditional Calabrian dessert.  My friend’s family owns and manages a bakery situated close to their house and the night before new year we all went to the bakery to make ciambelle.  

During my stay in Calabria my friend and I went to Messina, in Sicily. In Messina we ate delicious arancini e cannoli.  Our trip to Messina was a fantastic experience because I was able to explore foods that I had never tasted before. We also took a trip to Scilla, a small city on the sea near Reggio Calabria well worth the train ride. In Scilla we stopped by a small pizzeria where I ate nduja, a traditional Calabrian meat, for the first time.  On the whole, it was a fantastic and unforgettable week! 

December 2017

The Fall semester here at Bologna has come to a close. I am delighted to share with you all that it was the best semester of my academic career without a doubt.


In the past several months during my stay here in Italy I have learned a great deal not only about the Italian language but I have also come to grow from a cultural standpoint.  Moreover, I am delighted to inform you that my exam on the Divina Commedia went very well, (28 out of 30).  At this point, I have exams left which I will take after the Christmas break.  


During my stay here in Italy I have had the pleasure of meeting a very king Italian girl from the region of Calabria. She has invited me to go down south and spend the holidays along with her and her family. I cannot wait; to sit alongside an Italian family during Christmas has always been one of my biggest dreams and finally it is becoming a realtà.  I look forward to enrich my cultural horizons learning more about the regions of southern Italy on this trip.


Bologna during this time of the year is very beautiful.  Here are several photographs of the city center with the Christmas tree.


Buone Feste!

November 2017

It is Fall here in Bologna. I am delighted to say that life in Italy is very enjoyable. I wake up every day with a great deal of motivation and try every day to do my best to put myself in situations in which I must use the Italian language. I am also starting to adjust to the Italian university system, which at the beginning was somewhat difficult to understand.  The best part of my day is when I go to class, in particular the course on the history of contemporary societies.  The professor is from Napoli, and as a result has a beautiful Neapolitan accent, which is very pleasing to me. Speaking of Napoli, finally I visited last week. It was a wonderful experience so much so that I look forward to going back soon.  I enjoyed many sfogliatelle, frolle e baba.  The best part however was la pizza fritta, fried pizza.  It must also be said that i napoletani are very warm and kind. After this trip down south I have come to understand that there truly is a difference between the north and the south.  

At this time I am preparing myself for my first exam on the Divina Commedia di Dante Alighieri that will take place in a few weeks.  Up to this point, my time in Italy has been without a doubt one of the most fruitful experiences of my life, not only from an academic point of view but also from a cultural point of view. To see the way in which others behave in certain situations is very important and allows me to become more open minded.  

October 2017


I am currently in my second week of the semester at Università di Bologna and after a busy and confusing first few days, I have finally chosen several exciting courses for the term. During the semester I will take five courses, however of these five there are two in particular that are very fascinating. The first is a course on contemporary Italian literature, a course in which I will be able to deepen my knowledge of several important Italian authors of the past century, such a Pier Paolo Pasolini e Alberto Moravia. In addition, I have chosen to take a course on the writings of Dante Alighieri. The content of this course excites me very much given the fact that I have never had the opportunity before to take a course on Dante. In addition to the many courses of literature I will attend a course that will focus on the different aspects of the Italian language.


My first impressions of the Italian university system are very positive; for example in Italian universities there exists “the fifteen minute rule” in which the professors start the lecture exactly fifteen minutes after the pre-established start time.  Clearly such a habit is very different from that in American universities. One important difference between Italian universities and those in America, is that in Italy there does not exists one campus were all courses are located. Instead classes are found in different parts of the city.  As a consequence, I walk a lot throughout the city of Bologna and have the pleasure to see and meet many Italians. 

Sohrab Rostami - Post #2


By now I have passed surpassed half of the semester here at the University of Bologna. I am delighted to say that my academic endeavors are proceeding very well. However I have yet to take an exam so we will see for sure if my valuation is correct in several months. It must be said however that courses taken at an Italian university are not as easy as one perhaps would think. Therefore, I have come to have a great deal of appreciation for the Italian school system as well as the Italian students. The difficulty is perhaps found in the fact that there are no midterms, no assignments, instead a single exam at the end of the term. My favorite course is without a doubt the reading of Dante’s La Divina Commedia.


I am delighted to say that my familiarity with the city of Bologna has become much greater. This is perhaps a consequence of the fact that I frequently go for walks around the city in search of the best tortellini and tagliatelle. Bologna, much to my pleasure, is not only a city where one can study at a well-known university but also a city where one eats very well.


In recent week I have made several small trips within Italy. A few weeks ago I spent several days at Florence, and just last week I went to Rome, one of my favorite Italian cities. During the few days there I enjoyed i supplì and gli spaghetti al cacio e pepe. In next few weeks I look forward to heading south to Napoli.

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