I became interested in the French language during my high school years in Dubai. I am Iranian, I was already an expatriate and I dreamed of discovering Europe. So I looked into the possibilities that France offered in terms of higher education, but the procedures were complicated and the costs were relatively high. So I naturally turned to Wallonia, France's French-speaking neighbour: the access possibilities were more flexible and studying there was much cheaper.

I knew nothing about Belgium and even less about Wallonia, I spoke French only to a very limited extent and I was far from my family this time... a very difficult period of adaptation for a foreign student! But, very quickly, I realised that people are very open-minded and I made friends. They often invited me to eat at their home, made me meet their family and other friends. I quickly realised the generosity and the big heart of the Walloons. What Liege offered me was beyond my expectations: I obtained a degree in Communication there but I was also able to meet young people from all over the world to share the different aspects of our cultures. This city contributed to making me what I am today.

Life and people are very different from what I had known before! I have been nostalgic since my return: I feel that it is harder for me to fit in at home. I sometimes talk about this experience and I made my nephew want to study in Wallonia as well: he will very soon take the steps to obtain a visa. I smiled when I noticed that we have a Walloon attaché office at the Belgian Economic and Commercial Center here in Dubai. I aspire to return one day to this multicultural Wallonia where I left part of my heart and soul to live.