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Abdolhamid Daryanavard

Abdolhamid Daryanavard, an Iranian educated in Liege.
Abdolhamid Daryanavard

An Iranian educated in Liege.

I first started to take an interest 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 inquired about the higher education possibilities offered by France, but the procedures were complicated and the costs relatively high. I then naturally turned to Wallonia, France’s French-speaking neighbour: access opportunities were more flexible and studying there was a lot cheaper.

I knew nothing about Belgium and even less about Wallonia. My French was very basic and, this time, I was a long way from my family, ... a period of adjustment that is very difficult for a foreign student! But very soon I noticed that the people are very open minded and I quickly made friends. They often invited me for dinner in their homes, introduced me to their family and other friends. I was quickly struck by the generosity and kindness of the people of Wallonia. What I experienced in Liege exceeded all my expectations: I obtained a degree in Communications, but I also met the youth of the whole world and had an opportunity to share different aspects of our cultures. This city has helped to make me what I am today.

The way of life and the people were very different to anything I had known to date! I feel a great deal of nostalgia since my return and in a way find it harder to integrate back into this society. Sometimes I talk about my experience and I want to encourage my nephew to study in Wallonia also: he will soon launch the visa application process. I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed that we have a Walloon Attaché office at the Belgian Economic and Commercial Center here in Dubai. I hope to return to live one day in this multicultural Wallonia where I left part of my heart and my soul.

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