Chapter 2

Northern News



01_POSTS_#02_02I arrived one week before the programme began to attend the sessions in cultural immersion that were offered. I thought this was important, to make sure I didn’t turn up on the first day of class without having got to know my way around the college a bit, and I’m really happy at having done so! I made my first nordic friend, Hakon, who is my own age. He is studying Engineering and has already given me the first pieces of advice. For instance, he has made it clear that kissing everyone I meet on both cheeks is not on … oops! He spent his Erasmus period in Spain and so he understands me better than anyone else. Oh, and he speaks quite a lot of Spanish too, which makes it easier for me at times. The first thing he told me was that he was so pleased with our health system: he pulled a muscle practicing sport and what could have been dramatic was reduced to a mere anecdote.

My first nordic friend, Hakon, spent his Erasmus period in Spain and the first thing he told me was that he was so pleased with our health system.

According to data provided by the Global Innovation Index 2014, a list drawn up by the WIPO~World Intellectual Property Organization, INSEAD Business School and Cornell University, Spain is one of the world’s 30 most innovative countries, ranked 27th out of 143.

I’m living at the students’ residence, which is huge; I have my own room and share the kitchen with other residents, all of them science students, so as well as being in my element, I find it rewarding to discuss aspects of my great passion other than those related to research. So I’ve already made my own circle of friends, and the other day I went out with them to a local bar where we sat and chatted. I am attracted to the dim light and relaxing music of the bars I have frequented so far, for their atmosphere invites conversation. We have a few beers and talk about our places of origin, our interests and tastes, and, like true science freaks, we end up discussing technology. I don’t usually feel comfortable as the centre of attention, but because I’m the only Spaniard, in fact, the only student from southern Europe, it was my turn to hold everyone’s attention for a good while, answering the questions they posed. I’d never had so many ears listening to me, but I felt great and thanked them for their interest.

I use to go out with my new friends to a local bar where we talk about our places of origin, and, like true science freaks, we end up discussing technology.

The efforts of Spanish scientists plays a decisive role in areas such as Energy, Engineering, Paleontology, Quantum Physics and Space Research.

01_POSTS_#02_03Today, at last, was my first day in class. I couldn’t wait! It was a relaxed presentation class; the teacher opened a debate on different systems of research and development in each of our places of origin. In this sense, it was very interesting to broaden my sights. Once again I became the centre of questions, due to the fact that Spain’s system is different to those in northern Europe. It was interesting to explain the workings of our public research mechanisms, our most competitive R&D&I sectors, and our main scientific and technical infrastructure.

I’m a bit overwhelmed by all the interest in Spain shown by my colleagues and teachers. I wasn’t expecting so much limelight! I’m happy to be able to contribute my humble knowledge and describe our resources.

I’ll soon be bringing more news!