Elkin Moreno: “Learning alongside students from different places gives you new perspectives on things”

This semester the URV will receive 780 international students onto its bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and mobility programmes, a figure that has continued to grow in recent years

The international students’ welcome ceremony featured a performance of traditional Catalan music.

The current semester has seen almost 780 students from different countries arrive at the URV to study under the auspices of various mobility programmes such as Erasmus+ and MOU. They were officially welcomed during a ceremony on 4 October. The number of students on these programmes has increased between 3% and 7% annually in recent years, as has the percentage of international students on other programmes, albeit to a lesser extent.

In addition to the mobility students, whose numbers have increased by 36 to 297 with regard to the first semester last year, there are also 326 international students on bachelor’s and master’s degrees, 140 Chinese students who are here through the training programme offered by the Centre for Hispanic Studies, and 14 on the Study Abroad programme, not to mention those who will arrive during the second semester.

Among the master’s students is Elkin Moreno, who is here from Columbia to study on the master’s degree in Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Energy. He chose this master’s degree because he was looking for a course that would consolidate the knowledge he had acquired while working at a company involved in water treatment and energy-efficient equipment. So far he is very pleased with the course, both in terms of content and the opportunity it provides to meet a wide range of people. “There are students from all over the world with different perspectives on things, so that together we all make a significant contribution and are able to learn from each other”. Moreno has taken advantage of the bicycle recycling programme promoted by Bicicamp and the URV and now uses a bike to travel round Tarragona, which allows him to maintain his commitment to saving energy in all areas.

Cristoph Bleher is a student from the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg in Germany. He wants to become a secondary school teacher of Spanish and is consequently studying as an Erasmus student on the URV’s Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Language and Literature. His favourite subject is the history of the Spanish language. In contrast to his own university, where there are 200 students per classroom, Bleher explains that here “class sizes are much smaller than in Germany” and allow for much greater interaction between students and teachers. He states that the people he has met during his time here have been open and have made him feel very welcome. He also recognises that participating in the Erasmus+ programme has enabled him to improve his language skills and to learn about a new culture.

Students who have joined the URV for this semester participated in the welcome ceremony.

Most Erasmus+ students at the URV come from Italy, while the most students on standard study programmes come from China, in particular at master’s level.

All the international students got together on 4 October for the welcome ceremony organised by the International Center and the Language Service of the URV, during which they were treated to a performance of traditional Catalan music and introduced to the workings of the University. Presentations were given by the Danish journalist Helle Kettner, who has been both a student and teacher at the URV, the vice-rector for Internationalisation, Mar Gutiérrez-Colón, the head of the International Center, Marina Casals, and the head of the Language Service, John Bates. The ceremony concluded with a performance of traditional Catalan music by the group Factoria Folk.

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