The 1st of February 2019 was an extraordinary day. My two days flight began at 07:25 and it took 30 minutes drive from the Papua New Guinea University of Technology to the Lae’s Nadzab Domestic Airport (Papua New Guinea). Furthermore, I visited three more airports: Port Moresby’s Jacksons International Airport (Papua New Guinea), Sangi International Airport (Singapore), and Doah/Hamad International Airport (Quarter). Finally, on the 2nd of February, I set out of the Qatar Airways AIRBUS INDUSTRIE A350-1000 plane at Madrid Adolfo Suarez Barajas International Airport (Spain). Born and raised in the mainland of the paradise island Papua New Guinea, the freezing 2°C (36°F) on arrival was what I lived with and a light jacket was all I needed. On a foreign land with dominant noises in Spanish, all my focus was in the sign boards with directions heading for the ALSA bus station to head for my final destination, the ancient University of Valladolid, Valladolid City, Spain.
After two and a half hours travelling through the windy plains from Madrid, I have to quickly unseat the ALSA bus, and headed from a city cab to my designated residence. The following day, I was registered at the School of Industrial Engineering. My residence at University Residence Alfonso VIII provided pamphlets and leaflets of city maps, supermarkets, city buses, parks, museums, gardens, etc… And obviously the interesting visit was museums, where I had the opportunity to visit the National Museum of Sculpture and the Oriental Museum of Valladolid. They house ancient artistic figures and sculptures dated back to the 13th and 16th centuries.
From the past two months observations, I would best describe Valladolid as an ancient city equipped with modern technology. Despite the cultural and language barriers, I was able to communicate and mingle into the Spanish lifestyle, thanks to Vodafone for its cheap monthly subscriptions for as low as €5 which is sufficient for using the most important google apps; google maps and google translate. Otherwise, the residence also provided free Wi-Fi and high speed ethernet connections so the Vodafone subscription was only used when away from the residence.
I appreciate the ERASMUS+ KA107 for it ‘TOOK ME AWAY’ to explore the beautiful city of Valladolid and also study in one of the oldest university in the world, the University of Valladolid. I was overwhelmed that the laboratories were fully equipped and staffed with experienced technicians and professors, it was a promise of hope. Lovengly, I had the opportunity to meet beautiful faces all over the world from different countries with different languages, cultures, beliefs, and disciplines. Spaniards were very kind and helpful, easy going, respectful, and committed people. The city streets are well planned with systematic traffic systems, clean, and yes I would assure you that it is uttermost safe for walks during nights.
Being a student at the School of Industrial Engineering, I was invited to participate in a yearly event called the Makeathon IoT 4.0 in Bejar. It was hosted 180 km south of Spain (Bejar), and was well organised. It was a challenging competition, where within two days, we competed in groups to design an idea into a prototype in the likes of Internet of Things (IoT). It was the best moment for me as an electronic enthusiastic, where I had the opportunity to work in a team of electronic and computer engineering students to contest the emerging IoT technologies of today’s digital world.
In the midst of the Easter Holiday, I travelled to Burgos with my colleague; a Egyptian masters student (Mahmoud Rashad). The visit to Burgos Cathedral was memorable, a historic monument building which is a must visit site for tourists. Easter Holidays were more festive in Valladolid both day and the nights.
I would love to take the worlds time to write many experiences, but here are some few tips I believe would be most helpful for future trips;
- Language: Communication is an exchange of information from one point to another or from one person to another and must be understood. In order to understand, a defined and standard language is a requirement. Therefore, try learn some basic and commonly used words and phrases in Spanish, which will be very useful. Also do not forget to use Google Translator!
- Mobile phone: It is obviously important be sure you have a backup battery, a networked mobile SIM card (like Vodafone or Orange) with a monthly subscription and an International Adapter for chargers not compatible with European standards GPOs.
- Climate: Prepare to adapt to the cold climates especially in the winter, so prepare some heavy clothes. Otherwise, the winter is snowless as you would imagine in other parts of Europe.
As for me, I feel no foreigner living in Valladolid because I knew I was living in the home country of the well known Spanish explorer Yñigo Ortiz de Retez amongst Christopher Columbus, who have discovered my tropical paradise “Papúa Nueva Guinea” back in the 1545. It was originally known to be Papua, the land of “Frexxly-Haired” inhabitants. The ‘Nueva Guinea’ or New Guinea in english was cascaded by the explorer after Guinea.
Of all, ERASMUS+ KA107 is a great and flexible initiative funded by the European Commission which recognises individual applicants that have the features that meets the terms and conditions. It is well designed for life changing study mobilities. ERASMUS+ KA107 ‘’TOOK ME AWAY’’ and I would always remember every single day I spent, lived and studied in the University of Valladolid, Valladolid City, Spain.