IULM University, Mr Chips, and Christmas lunch


There are three parts of my article, university staff, academic staff, and Christmas lunch.
In essence, Mr Chips is my favourite character at all, and did not forget him for last two decades. As much as I could remember when I read first time about Mr Chips, it was 1997, when I was studying at high school Trarkhel Azad Kashmir.

Receiving gift hamper from university officials.

I was a teenager that time and I read this course book essay as standard students of the rural area does. If I am not wrong, I could remember the name of our English teacher Rafique Hassrat taught us in very good way. He tried to act as Mr Chips did, but sometimes he became angry about the attitude and response of the students. Beating pupils were common practice those days. In addition, he was known a very strict teacher while the student found guilty. However, he was too kind to brilliant students, unlikely; I never fall in that category in two years, and had many episodes of that punishment(s).

In Thirsty Crow, I was only frequent to telling in front of 75 students, and then tenses were another hurdle. Maths was too difficult to me in secondary school. Then there was a first interval in my education of five years after my secondary school exams.

Prof. Luca Barbarito as Mr Chips with some of students after coffee.

In 2004, I started again my studies at Allama Iqbal Open University, and earned Higher Secondary School Certificate, Graduation, and MSc Mass Communication in 2011.

I studied in different educational institutes at London. In September 2016, I got scholarship from Italian interior ministry at IULM University Milan in New Media, Media, and Advertising.

I am a first Pakistani/Kashmiri who is studying at IULM University. I faced many communicational hurdles at daily life. No doubt, I missed my culture, food, and rest of the things associated with our daily lives.

Alberto Parravicini, is the first university’s official whom I met through emailing and telephoning. He gave me much support. If I could say that, he gave me assistance beyond his job that would be appropriate (because job has particular durations, and I contacted with him whenever I needed him). Now, we seem like kin, we occasionally exchange the gifts. With the grace of Almighty Allah, in my first semester, I got hundred percent (100%) results in some subjects, and it happened only because, Alberto Parravicini trained me in very good way as a tutor.

Valentina Grassano, helped me to find my place and room in the room. She also deals with me very closely. I found all officials passionate, and professional.

With Mamma’s family at Christmas Day.

My first year was an introductory session to me at university, because it was hard to me to use bilingual methods. I spent my most of the time at libraries, and where I found my Italian Mom Emanulia Costsnzo. She is an in-charge at libraries. My all professors suggested me different books for their courses. Moreover, Emanulia Costsnzo borrowed me those books from other universities of Milan and some books she bought only for me from USA, England, and other countries. I borrowed many books from IULM University’s libraries.

I sent my degrees and certificates to Italian Foreign Affairs Department to get equal studies certificate in September 2016, and was much worried about those, because I did not received any response from ministry. Elisa Sguaitamatti, she is admission officer, and she did her best to communicate with bureaucracy at interior ministry. Even though, she used some Hotline correspondence through prominent email addresses. At least, not last, I received my all documents last week.

I met with more than 100 professors and associates staff members in two and half years. All helped me, solved my problems, and responded to my queries in real time. IULM is multicultural and multi-linguistic university. If you are studying in Europe from first level of university degree, it is compulsory to study one extra language beyond English. I studied Spanish, and passed A1 level with 60% marks.

At English faculty, Doctor Harris is the head of department; she is from Cardiff (UK), there are different teachers of English native language speakers mainly from USA, UK, South Africa, and others.

Social media (new media), is a scientific study field. There are many professors teaching New Media at IULM University, and they also the authors of famous New Media books. More or less all professors teaches their own written books. In addition, some teaches others. The price of the books is affordable and reasonable. Moreover, I can assume that all professors are wealthy rich persons.

The world in big canvas and the relationship between east to west, north to south is important while studying history. I found many students lovers of history in different prospects. Formigoni Guido is a famous and prominent professor of history at IULM University, and he suggested me to study the book “The World Since 1945”, written by P.M. H. Bell and Mark Gilbert. Both authors wrote precisely every single event during the recession time of the world wars. I never come cross to know about the Germany. After studying this pioneer book, I planned a visit to Berlin/Germany to see the difference. In August this year, I went to Berlin and saw the things in my own way, a 3.6m high Berlin wall and 140 kilometres long. The construction of the Wall started from 13 August 1961, and officially demolishing started on 13 June 1990, and finished 1992. I found this place of wall near to my hotel in Berlin. I want to write more and more about East Germany, and the conflict of West Germany, and the present condition of the Germany, but it will take a while. Now Germany plays a vital role in the world’s economics, and I can say that Germany runs the Europe, and somewhere rest of the world.

German people are very cool minded, and helping. It was an amazing experience when I approached at Schonefeld Airport Berlin, it was midnight, and my mobile was off because of low battery. A young boy who was sitting in front of me in train offered me a power-bank to charge my mobile. I travelled a lot in two years; I visited more than nine European countries. I found German people different from the rest. It does not mean that rest of countries or people have not good reputation. I am studying at Milan, and it is the best place I ever found. It is my wonderful experience studying at IULM University, and proudly I would like to say that IULM placed a feather in my cap. There are many more departments and I would like to write a review but, I am afraid, I could not do so… but few departments will be discussed here.

NeuroMarketing is a new subject as well, and it deals with our purchasing behaviours, customers and consumers. How we select an item? Neuromarketing is actually emerged in market research today because of some amazing new discoveries in neuroscience, social psychology, and behavioural economics that have changed our understanding of how the human brain experiences, interprets, decides, and acts in the world. Therefore, it was a great experience to me to study such brand new subjects. Vincenzo Russo is a PhD associate professor and he is the head of Neuromarketing Department.

IULM University is a media and Tourism university, and it does not mean that you will not study maths. I studied maths but in very understandable and convenient style. Essentials of Economics is the name of mathematical book, the author is Robert M. Beren, a professor of Economics at Harvard University, and this subject is essential part of the studies for journalism. How the price fluctuates? How to study local, national, and international economics? In addition, much more…

Professor Luca Barbarito, is the leading professor in economics at our university. He is very friendly and smiling personality. He is always available to solve any problem(s) without any appointment(s). I cannot remember a single day when he left his class after one hour or more…. It was my first experience to study maths after my secondary school. I had many punishments in my early teenage because of the maths. My dad was very good at English and maths, and I got relaxed after secondary exams. Because there was no maths at all. I really wanted to get rid of the book of maths from my satchel, and God helped me to do so.

Luca Barbarito played a role of Mr Chips in this article. For last two decades, I had forgotten the attributes of Mr Chips, but when Professor Luca Barbarito delivered his second last lecture on Thursday, 20 December at 10:15, he said I invite you all to join me at cafeteria immediately after this lecture for coffee.

That moment was a moving moment for all of the students. He talked so nicely, I saw many sparkling faces and eyes that time. I was trying to figure out when and where I watched this scene in a movie. I am not making stories, and then I got some clue from last two decades, because this story and character was already saved in my mind. I recalled that moments, vision towards the story was cleared to me, but there was a bit doubt in characters. Meanwhile, I googled Mr Chips, and found the similarities. After 10:20 in the morning, we all went to the cafeteria where Luca Barbarito was standing in front of the counters. He asked to the students what they want, coffee, cappuccino, water, or some snakes? I was in the middle of the row/queue, when he looked at me, he smiled and said, Hussain what do you want? Coffee or cappuccino? Then he ordered cappuccino for me.
When I finished drinking, I said, sir, you are the first professor who offered all of us for this treat, and economists do not pay extra money. What perks are you getting? Is there a reason behind? Alternatively, On the other hand, is it your generosity?

He smiled, and replied, “Hussain, it does not cost me a lot, you all are students from different places, and if I offered you something, it means you all are my students.” He added that tomorrow will be the last lecture, and I know there will be only few students in the class, so I offered you all to come and have a cup of coffee with me today.

I realized that he has all the attributes of Mr Chips by all the means, and really, Professor Luca Barbarito is the real Mr Chips of this era. I impressed by his way of teaching and delivering the difficult terms. We took a group photo at the end of the coffee session, and as usual, we released him at 12 pm from the cafeteria.

In the following moments, I went to the university stationery shop and purchased some greeting cards, and started delivering. I was not able to justify to whom should I give the cards, or to whom I should not, all people gave me much respect, honor, and respect. From ground floor to sixth floor of the main university’s building, everyone knows me. Even though university’s canteen/restaurant staff knows me very well. There are thousands of students, I am sure they do not know every single student of the university, but they know me very well. Therefore, that is why I must be careful regarding my activities, because I am representing here to my country, my culture, my religion.

On 24 December, I received a gift hamper from Alberto Parravicini. He is really an amazing person at all, I seldom called him “brother”, and he reacts accordingly. IULM University gave me an identity, and we treat each other’s as we deal with our family and friends.
Yesterday, I called up to join at Christmas lunch in the house of university’s official. In the other words, at the home of my Mamma at 13:00, I offered my Zohar’s prayer at hostels at 12:25pm, and left for lunch at 13:45. She is living at five minutes walking distance from university and main hostels. It was my first visit ever to join any Italian function. Mamma’s husband came down to receive me at the main door at 12:55pm. She lives at 6th floor of the building.

When I met with the whole family and we started talking on different issues, one of her elder son said, I read your first article on Social Media, because my mom told us about you. Moreover, we have saved your piece of writing.

Italian are so punctual, at 13:00, the mother of my Mamma came to join her daughter on Christmas lunch with his son. We started our lunch at 13:05, amazing lasagna served as a starter, then main course. At the end of the lunch, traditional sweets served. Mamma cooked everything fresh, and we enjoyed eating with whole family members. Mamma has two sons; both are studying at different universities. One is learning music, Mamma’s brother is a great musician, he can play many instruments, and we enjoyed the live music. Meanwhile, I received a notification on my mobile for Asr’s prayer. I said I want to perform my prayer, and then one of her son brought me in his room to offer my prayer.

When I joined them again, Mamma said, “Mumtaz we need a special room at our university for mosque. You often perform your prayers at university gardens and on stairs… and now we have many Muslim students at our university.”
We should think about this issue seriously. I enjoyed how two sons were playing with their dad all the times it was something different that I noticed. During this short time, Mamma served two times traditional coffee.
I left them at 16:00, and came back to the hostels, but I think I am still sitting in their drawing room.

The writer is a student of New Media (Social Media) at IULM University Milan, Italy (International University of Languages and Media) and is the first Asian student who is studying social media in Europe. He is a professional storywriter, scriptwriter and storyteller. He can be reached at: Mumtaz.hussain@me.com