A 20-year-old Maria Dosheva went a long way to study in Poland. She comes from Bulgaria, but Zviko, who comes from Zimbabwe, had to travel even longer. Maria and Zviko are among an elite group of UITM students who were awarded the School of Leaders’ scholarship.
The new scholarship offered by the University of Information Technology and Management to students from semester 2 and on, does not only exempt a student from the tuition fee payment, but also entitles to elite, specialized workshops, taking part in projects carried out at the University, as well as receiving a tutor’s support.
Maria Dosheva graduated from the Vasily Levski secondary school in Velingrad when she decided to study Management – General Aviation in the English language at UITM in Rzeszow, Poland. While visiting the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, she went to the planetarium to watch a film about the history of aviation, the only one available in English, and as she recalls, she experienced a revelation. All she had to do next was to convince her parents.
Magda Louis – Now I know why you chose the UITM, but how why did you consider studying in Poland?
Maria Dosheva – It all began 3 years ago thanks to the exchange under the Erasmus + programme. First, Polish students visited us, and then I came to Poland.
ML – Warsaw?
MD – Oh no … I went to Łuków, to visit my friend Gabrysia, who had been at my place in Velingrad. We didn’t see each other for two years, but our friendship survived. I spent a week in Łuków at her home and it was a great opportunity for me to look around a bit. We went to the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw and that’s where I made my decision about studying Aviation Management.
ML – Was it your first experience with aviation, or is it a family tradition?
MD – It’s my first experience. Once I came back home from Poland, I began to search the Internet for studies in English and UITM in Rzeszow offered such a possibility. I’m not sure if I’d have decided to do it if it wasn’t for my earlier stay in Poland. I could go to Scotland or Germany, but I chose Poland, which I had already known.
ML – But you didn’t know Rzeszow. What was your first impression of the city?
MD – First of all, how clean it is! Second of all, there are green areas, water, and lovely market square and also what is most important for student, opportunities to gain work experience in many International Companies based in Rzeszow area. The only thing I miss from back home is mountains. In my place, the landscape is surrounded by mountains. Besides this, there is nothing to complain about.
ML – How do you find living in Rzeszow?
MD – Good. A city is not too big, not too small, absolutely enough for my needs. I think I look like an inhabitant of Rzeszow, because when I’m in the city centre, visitors always ask me for directions. The funniest thing is that I know how to get somewhere, but I don’t know how to say it in Polish.
ML – And who told you about the School of Leaders scholarship? This is a new thing at our University.
MD – Mr Marcin Smulski. He encouraged me to apply for this scholarship.
ML – Can you tell me what your GPA is?
MD – It’s not a secret. My GPA is 4.56. But marks are one thing, the other one is active participation university life, science clubs, in my case is English Club, Aviation Management Club and EU Club.
ML – Congratulations! I’m very happy that you are here.
Zviko Chirume came to Poland from Zimbabwe knowing very little about his country of destination. The only thing he had known was that it was very cold in here. As he says, he didn’t expect it to be that cold. He studies General Aviation with the aim of revolutionizing civil aviation after returning to Africa. Zviko is also among the elite group of students who were awarded the School of Leaders scholarships.
Magda Louis – You wanted to become a pilot. Didn’t you?
Zviko Chirume – Yes, I did. I was 5 years old when my Dad took me to the Air Show and then I decided to be a pilot. At the age of 18 I still had the same dream, but what can the pilot do besides flying? Aviation management gives completely different opportunities. There is plenty to do in Zimbabwe when it comes to aviation and I would like to be part of it.
ML – Were your parents happy about your plans of becoming a pilot?
ZCh – Not really. A pilot’s license, which is expensive and takes a long time to acquire, can be easily withdrawn. If you get sick, your eyesight gets worse, or anything else, you cannot fly anymore. My parents wanted me to choose a profession which would guarantee work for many years.
ML – When you got the scholarship, did you call your parents to tell them the news?
ZCh – Yes, it was a really great moment. I’d arranged the call so that they were both at home when I called. Like every child, I want my parents to be proud of me and they are.
ML – Were they worried about you and your studies in Europe?
ZCh – No. I could study in Germany or in England, but I chose Poland. In Europe everything is close; you can go to Stockholm for the weekend, or to Paris. For someone like me, who loves European architecture, studying in Europe is a big plus. Rzeszow has so many beautiful places, I am absolutely delighted with the Market Square and the streets around. I lived in big cities, in the 2-million capital city of Zimbabwe, Harare and for one year in Barcelona, but Rzeszow is just fine. This is a city where you can do anything, you can make your dreams come true, and you will not be overwhelmed by crowds of people.
ML – What do you think about Poles?
ZCh – They keep a distance and there is a lot of sadness on their faces. I commute by buses; transport in Rzeszów is great, and I am surprised by this sadness. Maybe it’s because of the weather?
ML – You came to Poland in October, summer is ahead of us, so you will warm up. Anyway, how do you integrate? You are new here …
ZCh – I’m part of a basketball team, we play in Kielnarowa and the climate is really nice. Recently, I’ve been invited to another university to talk about Zimbabwe. Great experience; young people asked a lot of questions. I’ve been travelling around Poland too, so I have more and more friends in Krakow, Wroclaw, etc. Apart from that, we went to Serbia under Erasmus+ and there are plans for further trips. I love people and I always look for new contacts.
ML – Your friend Maria Dosheva, who like you, received the School of Leaders’ scholarship, said the same. Both of you are not only good students, but you also have plans for the future.
ZCh – I would like to work in Europe after my studies, gain experience and then go back to Africa. There is much work to be done there.