Rosalba Lilia Bollás and Diego A. Urbina chose the URV to follow the Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Faculty of Economics and Business during the first four months of the 2017-18 academic year. Coming from the Autonomous University of Querétaro in Mexico, they tell us what they think of their stay at the URV.
Why did you decide to complete part of your studies at the URV?
Diego: Studying abroad is an important and fundamental part of every student’s academic development as it allows us to understand new cultures and learn about different learning tools. However, I believe that it is essential to find the right place to develop professionally. I chose the URV because it has the distinction of being ranked among the best universities in the world. Also, the subjects taught in the Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation are similar to those taught in Mexico, which helps us to get the subjects recognised when we go back home. Another very important factor for us is the level of service offered by the administrative staff of the URV in providing us with all the information we needed to register at the URV.
Rosalba: I was interested in studying at the URV for three main reasons: the subjects of the Master’s in Entrepreneurship and Innovation are similar to those on our Master’s at the Autonomous University of Querétaro, the service we received from the URV allowed us to complete our studies in the time we had, and the URV is also ranked among the best universities in Spain.
How do you think your stay at the URV has contributed to your education and future?
Diego: The Master’s allows us to see the technological potential and implications of innovation at local and global level. It is very important to train new entrepreneurs to collaborate in the development of new markets and to provide them with knowledge that will enable them to be more competitive in the labour market. In addition, I can add that professionally we have acquired various tools and methodologies that we will then take back to our home university and country, thus making this stay mutually beneficial because knowledge travels in both directions.
Rosalba: My stay at the URV allows me to see from a global and authentic perspective how entrepreneurs are trained to boost a country’s economy. Being in a place where entrepreneurship programmes are conceived, developed, and executed is crucial for students and the URV gives students the support and supervision they need to get their projects off the ground. I will now be able to share the experience and knowledge I acquired during my URV studies with my country and my university. I will also be able to put both into practice in my personal, professional and work life.
What are the principal differences and similarities between the education systems of Spain and Mexico?
Diego: We believe that both Master’s Degrees, the one in Mexico and the one in Spain, share similarities insofar as the subjects taught, the focus and the objectives.
Rosalba: With regard to the Master’s there are many similarities in the way entrepreneurs are trained and in the experience of the teachers, who are experts in the subjects they teach. The difference is that at our university the courses last for four months whereas at the URV they last six.
Regarding cultural differences, have you felt like ambassadors of your country while at the URV? Can you tell us about any experiences?
Diego: Yes, that’s right. I think it is important to be an ambassador because it helps other students from your own country and also helps students from Spain to study abroad in the future and to have experiences like the one we have had. One example of a great experience that we have had was last Christmas, when we organized a dinner party and asked everyone to bring a typical dish from their country. That way we were able to experience a wide range of international dishes and learn about differences in how food is prepared.
Rosalba: Yes, my friends have been very interested in Mexican cuisine because they think our food is very spicy. They have also been very keen to learn about our tourist attractions, climate and customs, as well as being interested in topics related to security, politics, education and others. We have also shared methodologies for presenting work and attended a talk on searching for patents by the expert Xantal Romaguera, who invited me to participate.
Have your fellow students been curious about your culture?
Diego: Our friends here have always been interested in learning about our customs, way of life, food and culture in general. We have also been interested in learning more about our peers and how they go about their daily lives.
Rosalba: But I would like to note that my fellow students have mainly been interested in the issue of security since it is alarming how unstable some parts of Mexico have become. But the situation is not as bad as the media portray it.
How would you describe the student life you have found at this university?
Diego: I would say it is a very pleasant environment. I have been able to meet and get to know students from other campuses as well as from different countries. I have had the chance to learn more about their cultures and about a wide range of different teaching methods. I have also been able to share my experiences from Mexico and they have shared their experiences from their own countries. And the different style of learning has allowed me to incorporate new study tools into my life.
Rosalba: It’s an easy, friendly environment with a great diversity of cultures. It has places like the library where you can study and do homework in groups. And of course, there is also the cafeteria where you can enjoy delicious meals and sandwiches.
Do you plan to continue your education?
Diego: Yes, I will continue with a PhD in Technology Management. I will also be looking to study in London to broaden my knowledge further and specialize as a researcher and teacher.
Rosalba: My objective is different. My goal is to continue my education and apply for a PhD in Technology Management and Innovation at the Autonomous University of Querétaro. I also want to do an international mobility visit during my PhD (Technology Forecasting and Competitive Intelligence in Research, Development and Innovation Projects). And later I aim to create a consultancy company for the management of technology-based projects and entrepreneurship for MSMEs.