Leonardo da Vinci, a unique experience for participants and host institutions


Paco de la Coba, graduated in Journalism at University CEU Cardenal Herrera, and Director of EL IBERICO in London, explains how interesting is participating as host instituion within the LEONARDO DA VINCI PROGRAM.

Paco de la Coba is the Director of El Iberico and also graduated in Journalism in UCH-CEU

I remember the day when I decided to take off in search of new opportunities. I chose to go to France, specifically the South, as I had already spent time in England and I fancied learning a new language. Already six years have passed since I left Aix en Provence following my experience as a Leonardo da Vinci grant recipient interning in the Franco-Spanish Association, La Noria. For those who are still having doubts about whether to go or not with this type of grant, I would simply say that they should go for it as it was one of the best experiences of my life.

I learned basic things which can’t simply be learned at University, most importantly organization, the importance of having a good contact base and how enriching an experience it is to work with people of all different nationalities. Furthermore, you will learn a new language which will make you even more employable in the future. Years later I decided to embark on a new adventure with El Iberico, the Spanish newspaper in London, and since then I have been working with this grant scheme which served me so well, developing me professionally and as a person.

I encourage you all to take up this marvelous adventure which the Leonardo da Vinci grant scheme offers, travelling to other countries, learning new skills, meeting new people and learning a new language. For me, it was the most enriching experience I have had during my short but busy professional life and I recommend it to all those who are still undecided.

Here we have the statements of Iñaki Borda, Javier Marcos and Carlos Gallardo (graduated in Journalism at UCH-CEU), three young men who are enjoying their time working as a part of El Iberico’s editorial team.

Iñaki Borda, San Sebastián (22 years old)

My experience as an intern at El Iberico and recipient of the Leonardo da Vinci grant up to now has been very gratifying. I am not only learning how the newspaper business is run “from the inside”, but I am also gaining experience in the editing and amending of texts. In other words, I am working on all those processes necessary in order to produce a newspaper: from contact with collaborators who create the newspaper’s content, to the revision of the PDF which is the final step before the definitive printing of the publication. Furthermore, living in London is a huge advantage as there are always thousands of events and often we get to attend these in order to cover them and create pieces about the events in question.





Javier Marcos, Badajoz (25 years old)

The grant is great considering that, in my case, it is helping me to take the first steps into the workplace as a recently graduated journalist. Furthermore, the experience of living and coping abroad is not simply beneficial in terms of professional development, but also personal development.

The Leonardo programme experience presents you with a unique opportunity to enter into the world of work for the first time, working in a foreign company and all that that entails: the experience, the cultural enrichment, the opportunity to become more open-minded, develop your curriculum vitae, learn (or perfect in some cases) a new language, etc. – many of the positive factors of working as well as the opportunity to get to know first-hand the ins and outs of a foreign company.

Therefore, for any self-respecting recent graduate, this is a very recommended work placement. The main problem is finding this type of company as not many are on lists provided by Spanish institutions. Furthermore, the treatment of interns can vary a lot depending on the company. There are those bosses who are hospitable and caring and others that are colder and more hostile. In my case I was lucky with my bosses but, to be honest, it’s luck of the draw.

Carlos Gallardo, Valencia (25 years old) – Student from University CEU Cardenal Herrera

Carlos Gallardo studied Journalism in our university. Now is doing his internship in London

I have undertaken my Leonardo work placement for 6 months now at El Iberico, a daily paper aimed at Spaniards living in London. In this time I have been able to develop my professional skills as a journalist covering important events that occur here in the capital of the United Kingdom. For example, I have had the opportunity to interview various athletes who competed in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the biggest worldwide sporting event, and I have attended the World Travel Market, the most important fair for the global travel industry.

Furthermore, I have conducted other interviews with authors, painters, athletes, musicians, etc. who have been in London in order to hold exhibitions, concerts and book launches. Furthermore, this experience has allowed me to improve my English by attending conferences and events where this language has been spoken.In short, I believe the Leonardo da Vinci grant scheme has been a great opportunity for me to continue developing my professional contacts by getting to know many people in the field (fellow journalists from other newspapers and companies) who have offered me economic assistance so that I can reside and search for my future career outside of Spain and experience a new culture full of opportunities such as that of the United Kingdom.


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