From 90s Mafia Ruled Russia to Oxford University

Robert Ballante Start Date: May 5, 2017 - End Date: Aug 22, 2017
  • Educational/Research Trip
  • Study/Degree Abroad
  • Cultural Exchange
  • Pechino, Cina
  • Londra, Regno Unito

My Travel Story

by: Robert Ballante Start Date: May 5, 2017 - End Date: Aug 22, 2017
  • Educational/Research Trip
  • Study/Degree Abroad
  • Cultural Exchange

I was born in Saint Petersbourg in 1994. It was hard. The Soviet Union had just collapsed, there was no state and nothing that resembled the civil society of the western world: the Russian Mafia was king. Not long after a hostage situation that involved my grandma, my mother and I moved to Italy. Life in Russia was unsustainable.

Right now I'm a Russian and Italian national as well as a native speaker of both languages. I have a highly competitive academic curriculum (GPA of 3.95), and a long lasting involvement in the Italian social impact startup scene. Likewise I'm involved in leading community service projects with Rotary International, which range from playing football with disabled children to raising funds for medical machinery.

I have been recently admitted for a MPhill in Russian Studies at Oxford University (which is currently my second choice) and at the double master in International Affairs at the London School of Economics: first year in Beijing studying International Relations of the Asia-Pacific region, and a second year in London with a global and more historical focus.

Being admitted at two of the most prestigious universities in the world is an incredible opportunity for a person like me, of very modest origins. Unfortunatelly at the moment due to my family's financial situation (my mother is an only parent), I have secured only a part of the funding needed to be able to afford it.

After a meticulous estimate of the costs, my mother and I concluded that the total cost of the 2-year program will be around 75,000 euros. This sum is absolutely out of reach for me and my family.

Obviously I'm not asking for a sum of that size. 20,000 euros would be an incredible goal for me to reach, and all the rest is likely to be financed through a student loan.

  • Pechino, Cina
  • Londra, Regno Unito