The Erasmus + program is celebrating its anniversary. This European program, established in 1987, has been opening up borders and redefining the European area for more than 30 years …until now. And, for some years now, the program has been expanding and has already offered opportunities to students from all over the world who want to take a chance on a global education. Therefore, we no longer see Erasmus + students only from Italy, France or Germany, but more and more Russian, Japanese or Ecuadorian friends who choose our classrooms to participate in a formative international experience.
This is the case of Miguel, who has come from UEES in Guayaquil (Ecuador) to study Business and Marketing. We had a chat with him about business, his academic expectations, …and even iguanas.
Miguel, you tell us that your thing is international business and that this area in Valencia is nothing more than a small stop on your way to New York. Do you like to fly high?
The truth is that I really like international business and, among my projects, I have started my own company. And yes, I would like to return to my country to finish my studies and then do a master’s degree in New York, which is a city that I love and where I already have a lot of family.
I do not think I’d like to stay in one country; if I were to finally finish creating my company, I would not want it to be something small, but something big!
Do you already have your business plan in mind?
More or less, yes. I am still structuring the plan, but I would like to develop something related to the world of fashion. From an early age I have been passionate about this sector, which also has a huge influence on all of us. Being able to act on and influence the taste of people, with something that is also a very personal means of expression, is something I find exciting.
We’ll have to wait a bit to see your brand advertised on a Times Square billboard; until that moment arrives, tell us how you are living your European experience.
Actually I have experienced Europe before because I studied in the United Kingdom but yes, it is the first time I have visited continental Europe. I think I will take advantage of my stay here at CEU UCH by visiting other countries such as France, Italy or Switzerland, which I really want to see.
From what I have seen of Valencia, it is exactly what I expected before arriving; I really like its atmosphere, its architecture and its history. There is a very interesting transition between the most historical or rustic part of the city and then the most modern and contemporary part. I love that contrast, and people in general have been very kind to me. So far, I’ve only had positive experiences.
It is true that the culture is different but I have observed that we have a lot in common – I like the Spanish accent and how they express themselves: they are much more direct!
We hope it continues to be a positive experience: what expectations do you have of your adventure at CEU UCH?
First of all I hope to enrich myself a lot as a person and learn a lot from the culture but also from all the subjects that I will study here… and enjoy it a lot, of course!
At an academic level I am sure that it will be an exceptional experience because I know that the CEU Valencia is a very good university. Of the subjects that I am studying now, well, perhaps International Relations is the one that most attracts my attention; I’m also looking at parts of an area of Law which I like too, and in fact it was my second degree option if I did not do business.
The teaching method that I see here is very similar to that of my country and I like how they explain everything because it is not limited to just theory – teachers also give us many examples and encourage us to do internships.
In Europe, the Erasmus + program is turning 30 years old and we are especially proud of what it has meant for project development within Europe. However, we are surprised (and we love it) that students from other countries are joining the program too: how did you find out about the program and why did you choose Spain as a destination?
I heard about it during the first year of university because we received lots of talks from the different offices we have at UEES. The idea of an exchange always interested me because my plan was never to stay in Ecuador and I chose Spain because the language would facilitate communication and because it is Europe, which means ease of movement to other countries. A Europe without borders, which for you is so natural, stands out to me a lot.
Did you have time to spot that you are on an international campus?
Yes! In fact, in the building where I live, all my neighbours study at CEU UCH and no one is Spanish: one is from California, another is Russian, another Indian… they are all studying for their degree here and it is very noticeable when you arrive on campus that there are many students from outside of Spain. I think it’s a good thing because not only do I just get to know the local culture, but I can get to know several at the same time and I love that. Living this experience makes you grow and be more adult.
We talk a lot about Valencia but we also want to know something about Guayaquil. Perhaps if one of your peers at CEU UCH was considering going to Ecuador through Erasmus +, what would you say?
What to say about my country… Ecuador is not well known because it is a small country. But it is a country that surprises you and wins your heart; I have many friends who went on exchange and ended up in love with my country and have since returned. Maybe it’s because we are very warm, very kind to foreigners and we always want your stay to be as perfect as possible.
Aside from that, in Ecuador we have a lot diversity in flora and fauna, and you don’t find that in other parts of the world; we live with animals which for you live in the jungle, such as iguanas. There is even a park called Iguanas …in the middle of the city!
Hmm, I don’t think you’ll see many iguanas on our campus!
Thank you very much for sharing your first moments at CEU UCH with us, Miguel. And you know, when you’re the new Calvin Klein and you’ve built a fashion empire, we hope you’ll come back and tell us.