My Journey to Valladolid, Spain by Ubaldimir Miguel Guerra

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In recollection of the experience during my Erasmus+ Mobility for Academic Staff, there are three themes that I would like to emphasize about my experience: Cultural Enrichment, Academic Networking and Professional Development.

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Cultural Enrichment

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My trip to Spain was my first time traveling to Europe.  As a lecturer of literature at the University of Belize, I was particularly excited to experience as much culture as those 7 days of mobility would afford me.  Before traveling, I had the pleasure of reading the works of several contemporary Spanish authors, such as Javier Marias and Enrique Vila Matas, so I was especially looking forward to a feeling of the literary in the space I was preparing to enter.  Also, I had recently begun reading Cervantes’ masterpiece, Don Quijote, which I was to incidentally learn that the first part was actually written in the fabulous city of Valladolid, where Cervantes once resided.  I had the feeling that I was surely in for a special treat.

My expectations to experience the literary were more than fulfilled.  Walking through the House of Cervantes was an otherworldly experience for me.  This blog is too short to capture that feeling.  Also, having a tour of the Santa Cruz library had a similar effect – books are sacred here and I immediately got the feeling of their role in the construction of a vibrant culture in Valladolid.

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Inside the House of Cervantes

Incidentally, Valladolid was also hosting its annual book fair, where I was also able to meet writers and publishers – very exciting.  Travelling to the National Sculpture Museum and several cathedrals helped me to develop a deeper understanding of my Catholic faith, its history and how central art and literature are to its foundation.

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At the Biblioteca de Santa Cruz
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At a Real Valladolid football game

Academic Networking and Professional Development

Meeting with faculty, staff and students at UVa’s Facultad de Filosofía y Letras and the International Office was an invaluable experience.  Everyone whom I encountered at the UVa was very open to dialogue and sharing resources about their programs and research.  A particularly rewarding experience was spending some time in classes in progress.  This experience opened my eyes to the diversity of students and different approaches to teaching language to international students.  Faculty also shared useful knowledge about their programs and expressed commitment to pursue further collaboration with the University of Belize – quite inspiring.  Such networking has advanced my professional development and my capability to establish networks across institutions.

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At the University of Valladolid, Faculty of Education and Letters

I will always be thankful to everyone at the UVa and the UB who made this an unforgettable and enriching experience.

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My Erasmus Experience in Valladolid, Spain. by Davida Kazia Thomas

Receiving the news of been awarded an Erasmus+ KA107 scholarship to study Architecture in Spain at the University of Valladolid was one of the best days of my life. Growing up in a small town on the Island of New Guinea all my life I had never had an opportunity to travel abroad. I had always dreamt of visiting the West, where civilization started. As an architect I was particularly fascinated by the historical architecture of Europe. The Erasmus scholarship was definitely a dream opportunity for me.

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My first day in Valladolid. Valladolid Plaza Mayor

The girls at the Collegio Mayor Santa Cruz were very friendly and helped me settle in well. The refectory served typical Spanish dishes for which I was delighted to try out. The time table for meals however was a surprise. Lunch is served at 14:00 and supper at 21:30. My new girlfriends later explained that this is typical Spanish way of life as I later came to know about siesta  after realizing most shops were closed from 2pm to 5pm. Such an amazing yet interesting life style I had to be accustomed to. After three months of preparing my travel documents, the day finally arrived. It was 20th September, a day I can hardly forget. Transiting through different Airports, it took me more than a day to arrive at Madrid International Airport-Spain. Another 2 hour bus ride took me to my new place of residence at the Collegio Mayor Santa Cruz, Valladolid. Due to 9 hours difference, I arrived the same day, 20th Sept in Valladolid.

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Valladolid school of architecture

Valladolid is a beautiful historical city with a social and tranquil atmosphere. Set among historical site along a vaunting and long winding river, with beautiful parks and gardens. The city host cozy cafes and tapa bars which serve some of the best wine and Tapas in Spain. The streets are safe and clean and the people are helpful and respectful; a city so different to the city I lived in. The city is conducive for students as the cost of living is low plus all the University campuses and important facilities in the vicinity are within walking distance.Studies commenced after a week after I arrived. The lessons were mostly in Spanish but easy to understand though I had little knowledge of Spanish language, I could follow through. I learnt a lot from the lectures and the assignments. The courses were very informative and challenging and most importantly I got to learn stuff which I would not be able to learn in my country. The academics at the School of Architecture were very warm and welcoming. The school was topographically immense in comparison to my home collage. I spent my free time around the campus, viewing the display of students work and making use of the great collection of books and resources.

The social interaction was a great part of my journey as I met new people and got to understand other cultures better. The Erasmus Student Network organized excursions to other parts of Spain, where I got to meet other international students and travel together. I also went on road trips with my friends; they were an adventurous bunch (which I was very lucky to meet). I was adamant to visit all the important architectural sites in Spain during my stay and I am satisfied to say I did get to see most of them.

My advice to prospective Erasmus+ KA107 student is to make the most of the opportunity; learn as much as you can in terms of knowledge and experiences.  It is important to budget time & money well and always be health and safety conscious. Before arriving It is beneficial to learn the language of the country; at least the common basic conversations. Always ensure that there is internet on your phone to ease communication and also for handy phone apps such google earth and google translate.

The Erasmus+ KA107 program has really added value to my professional development by broadening my understanding and appreciation of architecture. I have also learnt a lot about Spain, made lifelong friendships and built professional networks.

 My Erasmus experience was awesome. I am very grateful for the scholarship and I can’t wait to return to Papua New Guinea and share my knowledge and experience with my people.   My Spanish sojourn was in fact a great experience and an inspiration.   It has proven beyond reasonable doubt that education and hard work attains prolific end and would be an inspiration for others in my home country, Papua New Guinea.

The Life Changing Experience in Europe of a Small Fiji Islander by Maria-Rose Chandra

Being from a small island nation in the South Pacific, and a first time traveler, this experience has definitely been an enjoyable and memorable one. From the friendly and dedicated staff, to the students from various countries all over the world, who I now call friends and the breathtaking sites, which has ultimately left me in awe and utmost grateful to those who made this possible for me.

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Plaza Zorilla, this fountain was one of the eye catching sites for me, aside from the vast greenery and ancient churches.

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A night out in Valladolid with my friends from Vietnam and Madrid. It was an amazing night indeed, experiencing the night life in this Royal City. This city is definitely one of the safest places I’ve lived in and I especially admire that although the locals love their alcohol, there was no drunk and disorderly people to be seen, just simply individuals socializing and having a good time.

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Above, is a picture from my trip to Rome, Italy, where I visited the ever famous Roman Colosseum. I also had the privilege of dressing up like the ancient Romans did, as the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, thus I did exactly that.

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My trip to yet another historical site, located in Paris, France, the Eiffel Tower. Growing up, this visiting this world renowned monument was honestly on my bucket list and I have finally accomplished it. Paris has numerous other sites like the church of Notre Dame, or the golden art piece placed above the underground tunnel where Princess Diana tragically died.

These pictures are merely a fraction of all the wonderful cities I have had the utmost pleasure of exploring and learning about. The world is a beautiful place waiting to be explored and it’s opportunities like this which enables a 3rd world nation citizen like me to enjoy. The academic tools employed by the teachers have honestly made learning more interesting and easier. Not to mention being exposed to the views of individuals from different countries, has definitely been an eye opening and enlightening experience. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a wonderful life changing experience because this is exactly what this trip has done.

Erasmus+ KA 107 by Samir Mena

Valladolid is a very beautiful and quit city, has churches, diverse architecture, shops, restaurants, bars, banks and museums are all located in the main part of the city.
One of Spain’s oldest universities, the Universidad de Valladolid suitable for all researchers and students provided with all new equipment in laboratories and all advanced programs.

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The Pisuerga River passes through the city, providing fishing, boating, swimming, and lovely parks.

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San Pablo Church in Valladolid, one of the most beautiful churches i have ever seen, it’s very big and beautiful architecture design.

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All professors in the university are helpful and friendly, in addition they explain the lessons in easy way and they are available in anytime. one of my professor made a tour with all students around Valladolid to show to us the important places here and he explained all the history of this places.

UVa – the bridge to a new world, by Nguyen Thi Thuy Linh

My name is Nguyen Thi Thuy Linh. I am a student in Vietnam National University – Hanoi University of Science. I want to show you a great deal of amazing experience that I gained during the time living and studying in the University of Valladolid (UVa).

The first experience of mine is learning how to adapt with the climate. Valladolid is a city has the climate totally different from my country. In the winter, it was freezing cold and dry but rarely snowy.  I could not wear any T-shirt till the end of April. This weather made us always go shoulder by shoulder, hand by hand to get warmer – the weather brought us close together. I was quite confident to say that I can even move to Arctic to live after I experienced the weather in Valladolid.

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A snowy day in Spain which rarely occur

My second experience is learning something new. I not only took a huge advantage from the Industrial engineering semester in the UVa but also emerged in a unique culture of Spain in which Valladolid is such an ideal place to explore. During the semester, I was impressed with the enthusiasm and the friendliness of all professors as well as their willingness to help me for any doubt. I truly appreciate to professor Margarita Mediavilla Pascual in System dynamics and simulation class, group of professors Pedro Garcia Encina, Raquel Lebrero, Julián M. Pérez and Fernando A. Frechoso in Environment and renewable energy class, professor María Isabel Jiménez in Technical project class, professor María in Spanish class, and finally my supervisor Sara Isabel Pérez Elvira who guided me in the final project.

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My professor and classmates in Spanish course

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Some staffs in Department of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology

After the class, I took part in a latin dancing class every Friday night. It was such a special and wonderful class when at first there were only three Vietnamese students, but my dance teacher, Amaury Frometa, taught us with his passion and enthusiasm. My dancing class then became a cozy home that help us find relaxation and connection that we never find anywhere in the world.

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Some memories in my dancing class

One more experience is getting to know some new friends in different part of the world. We are different in color, language, and culture but we have in common at one thing that we all love Valladolid. I was grateful with some Tunisian girls who cooked for us various delicious food. I thought they can win high prize if they participate the Masterchef show.

I also want to give my special thanks to some friends in Papua New Guinea, South Africa and Europe who help me a lot in the class. Besides, I really admired some friends in laboratories that are Honami (a girl from Japan that is optimistic and independent) and Alina (a girl from Cuba that is like a professional dancer).ttl5

Some memories with my friends in UVa

Overall, the 5-month-course in UVa has given me full of valuable experience. UVa is truly an amazing place that bring me close to a new world where I become more mature and more confident to create a better life.