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Bologna, Italy is more than just the beautiful porticos dotting the city landscape, lively markets and the classic winners in the repertory of Italian cooking. It is home to one of the world’s oldest universities: Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna.

For Saba from Iran, this was a key factor in her decision to enrol here — but not the only one. “I felt it was very cool to study in the oldest university in the Western world,” says the environmental engineering student. “The University of Bologna happens to be number six in impact rankings too, and it makes me happy to study my major in such a university that truly cares about the future of our planet.”

The University of Bologna is one of Italy’s largest universities – with five campuses across Italy: Bologna, Rimini, Cesena, Forlì and Ravenna, plus one in Buenos Aires, 32 departments and five schools – serving some 85,000 students.

Yet for its long history, the University of Bologna still remains relevant and innovative today, thanks to a growing international perspective, cutting-edge research, an increasingly rich programme catalogue, and outstanding funding opportunities.

Indeed, a good number of its students are international, and for Idil hailing from Turkey, that impacted her powerfully in her first lesson at the University of Bologna: “It was a very interesting lesson about migrants’ human rights, however what struck me most was realising that I was in a room with many brilliant people from all over the world.”

That is by no means the only impressive thing about the university. Several outstanding national and international rankings is another. For academic reputation, it is first in Italy, 19th in Europe and 71st in the world (QS World University Rankings 2022); top in Italy for the 2021 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings; and among the world’s best 200 universities (QS World University Rankings 2022). Furthermore, the University of Bologna is 104th worldwide for its quality of teaching.

Over the last few years, the university made critical investments in teaching innovation and research infrastructures in order to expand its international catalogue of degree programmes and to considerably increase its ability to attract students and researchers from all over the world.

Little wonder that the University of Bologna is tops in Italy when it comes to the number of students in exchange programmes; it is ranked within the top five European universities in the number of exchange students as well.

University of Bologna

Copyright of the University of Bologna

Delightful scenes kind to the pocket

The university campus and facilities are well integrated within the city both physically and metaphorically, thanks to the close ties between the city and the university on many levels, from their location to their joint events. Both the city and the university bring a vibrant international flavour that can be experienced in all areas of a student’s life, including accommodation – which proved to be a delightful advantage for Adriana from Brazil.

“I live in a shared house with three more people – we are all international students which is really great because I live with an Italian so he learned Portuguese from me and I learned Italian from him. It was a nice exchange,” Adriana explains during the Student Ambassadors’ open mic.

Moreover, because the University of Bologna is a comprehensive research university it has numerous alliances with industries and public and private organisations. Additionally, having these connections together with quality teaching and research based on a hands-on approach makes this university an excellent choice, even more considering its promotion of entrepreneurship with programmes tailored to students wishing to launch start-ups and spin-offs.

Besides this, students at the University of Bologna have a wide array of 200 degree programmes to choose from – one of the broadest degree programme catalogues in the world. Being number one in Italy for funded international projects makes for another attractive incentive to choose the University of Bologna.

That is why Ahmed from Iraq is grateful to be given the Er.Go scholarship – given to students from developing countries to study in a European university: “I really appreciate this because I can experience this kind of education which is very different from back home and it makes me see my future in a better light. It changed my life.”

Indeed, for Ahmed and many other international students, the University of Bologna’s first-rate teaching, high rankings and robust research links make for a unique combination of history and innovation.

This is also summed up by Al Ameen’s words in the Unibo Global – LifeBites podcast: “Unibo has been exactly what I had hoped for it to be, which is: an opportunity to experience an international environment, top-world class education and post-graduate career opportunities. So for these things I would say that Unibo has been everything I wanted it to be. Grazie mille Unibo!”

Apply today to start your life-changing journey in the world’s oldest, and definitely one of today’s best universities. Listen to Unibo’s podcast and check out scholarship and study grant opportunities here. Join Alma Orienta on March 3 and 4 and you will learn all about Unibo’s international degree programmes.

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