From Tunisia to Cambridge
Mouadh, winner of the #WinASummerInCambridge award, tells his story about his experience in Cambridge
It’s December 31st, 2015, and most people around the world are making their New Year’s resolutions: in Tunisia, where I come from, it’s not something we usually do…so this was my first time making one. I said to myself, “I will go to England.”
I had never left my country or gone on a plane before, but I heard about Summer School in Cambridge and I wanted to go. I started doing my research, but then I realized that with my parents’ combined annual salary I wouldn’t be able to afford the program. My big disappointment didn’t prevent me from continuing my research: I found out about the Goodwall app, a community that highlights beneficial opportunities for youth and gives scholarships in a wide range of fields. After joining the platform and updating my profile with my achievements (such as winning 1st place in the national competition of music and playing tennis) I heard about this scholarship called “Win a summer in Cambridge Award” which is basically an all-inclusive summer course at Clare College, Cambridge University. So I participated because, why not?
I was so excited to get selected from amongst a pool of highly enthusiastic and brilliant applicants. As much as I was happy, I was scared: scared of leaving my family that I was depending on for almost everything, scared of coming out of my comfort zone, scared of not being able to make friendships because of where I come from or my very shy personality, even scared of boarding a plane for the first time in my life. All of this made me hesitate a lot but when I saw my parents’ faces full of pride I overcame all those fears: even my mom, who used to prohibit me from going to school trips, she was the first person to congratulate me. That moment is the best moment of my life so far !
Cambridge was amazing, even though I had a tough time on the plane, when we landed it was heaven, and with my new friends it got even more beautiful. Now I can claim that I know the real meaning of “a dream came true.” Studying in the Wonderful Campus of Clare College with all its natural beauty, reading on the river side, punting, attending Shakespeare plays, playing soccer or having endless conversations about whether or not we are living in a simulated world was for me kind of the ideal life.
In Clare college international summer school I hadn’t only the chance to get to know to people from different countries, religions and cultures but also to be an ambassador of Tunisia; fixing some misconceptions and introducing my small north african/mediterranean country which nobody really knows anything about. All of this, alongside with having many intellectual conversations with real Cambridge students, made me more confident. Now my path to university in the US/UK is also clearer.
This experience was life changing and I would trade everything to go back there. Now I see the world with a whole new and different perspective and I am leading my life thousands of kilometers away from the people who became my best friend, inspired by some of the greatest persons I have ever met, trying to be better and make a difference. My ultimate goal in life is to become a theoretical physicist and to make a big discovery in the field. Now that I have seen England, I am closer to my goal.
By: Mouadh Arbi