Leaving the “comfort zone”: this was the most difficult, terrifying, yet thrilling thing I had to do when I got accepted for the International Master in Audiovisual and Cinema Studies, an MA program offered by a network of fourteen universities in Europe and Canada.

I’ve never been away from home for so long… so yes, this was the time to totally freak out!

Especially for all the things I had to leave behind. First of all, my everyday life: my family, my friends, places and habits I always kept in my pocket… and, of course, food! For one year, no more smell of tomato sauce in the morning throughout the whole house, that’s been an actual challenge!

However, all these thoughts disappeared as soon as the wings of the plane touched the clouds. That was the start of the most exciting year of my life, as a student and as a person.

The IMACS program gave me the possibility to study in two different cities, London and Paris, those cities everyone strives to visit one day.

First mobility: the Birkbeck University, London.

The city of the Beatles, the Queen, Amy Winehouse, and many other artists we all have on our iPod. The city in which I’ve been part of a big, diverse, multiethnic family.

For almost six months I’ve been a resident at International Students House, a home for students from all over the world, a place where boundaries and differences melt in a colored and perfectly harmonic choir.

Here, I got in touch with new cultures and habits and I embraced a completely new way of perceiving myself and the world.

That’s when I started thinking people really make the difference: places I saw, stories I was told and things I learned sounded unique and priceless.

Every second made me appreciate this magnificent, immense richness that we tend to consider a “distance”. But this distance instantaneously collapses when discovering we all share the same dreams and fears, and that we all cross our paths to experience something new.

Second mobility: Nanterre University, “Sous le ciel de Paris”.

A mix of history, culture, bistrotsand art that literally enchanted me.

The city where I lost a bit of childish selfishness and grew up, the place where I learned a new language and experienced a job opportunity.

The most significant part of my exchange in Paris was the internship at Vega Prod., a post-production enterprise where I discovered the world of editing and sound mix. I am very thankful for being part of this magical world!

Coming back as a whole new person is inevitable: I learned, I changed my mind, I made mistakes, and I smiled at everything I went through.

During this experience I realized that no obstacle is big enough: if you want something, then take it! And if you tried and you failed, then try harder!

For this, I have to thank my mentor Lionel Guenoun, who was the best supporter and teacher during my work experience!

I also want to thank all my friends for being by my side every day and for making me appreciate life as it is: unpredictable, strange, new, disappointing, exciting, extraordinary, crazy, ever changing!

I left my country to find answers to my questions. Eventually I did not find many, but I am coming back with a bigger smile and many other questions, the right ones!

Sara Serinelli