Like any other international institution, the Rothberg International School is filled with people from all over the world. On the school grounds, hallways, and corridors, you’ll find faces bearing distinct features of their country of origin and hear voices speaking over other voices in various languages. Encounters of such are expected in the everyday life at Rothberg. Yet, these encounters never become any less interesting. There’s always someone you’ll feel fortunate to have met, and with him or her always comes stories of a world that you never knew.
Alessandro Di Maio’s coming to Israel is, in itself, an extraordinary story. He was a young, budding journalist at the time, but he was nonetheless ready to take on the only travelling style journalists embark on: adventure-infused. Forgoing a long but otherwise simple plane ride from one of Sicily’s many airports, Alessandro boarded a ship to Tunisia and then went on for the long haul until he finally reached Israel. The country, he says, was nothing he ever expected. He experienced such an awakening that he decided to further his knowledge of the many facets that make up Israel by pursuing a graduate program at Rothberg International School.
Read the rest of my conversation with Alessandro and find out about the fascinating process on how his perspective of Israel changed, his experiences at Rothberg, and his advice to prospective students.
1. Where are you from and how old are you?
I am from the island of Sicily, the biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea, “a continent by itself”, as I like to say. I will soon be 29 years old.
2. What are you studying?
I took up political science and journalism in Europe. Here in Jerusalem, I currently enrolled in full time master’s program in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies. I will be graduating soon!
3. What made you decide to come to the Hebrew University? How did you hear about us?
I was already living in Israel for a while, trying to build a journalism career as a correspondent from the Near East. I wanted to know more about the region – about its people, cultures, religions, and languages. So, I looked around for a program that could supply me some knowledge. As I was searching through the Internet, I came across Rothberg International School of Hebrew University’s website and found the MA in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies that I could complete in two years. I decided to apply and got accepted. I actually was fortunate enough to have received the Rothberg Family Fund Scholarship. It was too great an opportunity to pass up, so I pushed through with the program.