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Vanessa Ramirez :: Blog

June 06, 2010

My second week at Barcelona I was able to visit some cool places. Last Sunday I went to Sitges and yesterday, I went to the Camp Nou Museum, Barcelona football team stadium. I have not been working a lot this week so I have been able to do much and my plans to go to Monserrat were thwarted by the rain today.

Sitges is a beach town 30 minutes from Barcelona.  To get there to take the train at Sants Station and the tickets costs 3 EUR. It is a beautiful place and I strongly recommend visiting. What I like the most about Spain is the transportation system. It is very easy, fast and inexpensive to go to nearby towns, unlike Miami were you must have a car to go anywhere. 

Train \Sitges Beach





The Camp Nou tour was great. To be able to see the stadium, the dressing room, the field, the championship’s cups they have won and even to be able to take a picture holding one was something few people have the chance to do. The ticket costs 17 EUR and it lasts like an hour. Unfortunately I wont be able to be at a football game because of the World Cup, but I am glad that at least I was able to do the tour.





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May 28, 2010

My first week at Barcelona was more than I expected.  I was excited about coming, and I have not been disappointed.  We arrived on Monday at 8:30 AM, after 13 hours of traveling.  Fortunately, I have a friend who lives here. He was kind enough to go to the airport and guide us around the city. When we arrived at our apartment, we were happy that there was an elevator, old but working, that we could use to take our big bags to the 6th floor. The apartment had everything we needed and my room was cozy and with enough storage space. Since I was the only girl of the group, I was lucky to get an single room. We found sheets, towels, and kitchen utensils. The bad news was that there was no Wi-fi network or TV. There is a TV here but it is not connected to the converter box since the cable was missing. Also, we couldn't figure out how to turn the water heater on. Fortunately it was very hot, so taking a cold shower was no big deal.  My friend gave us a tour around the city; we went to Barceloneta beach, and Sagrada Familia. He also explained to us how to get to the UPC and how the public transport works. We bought monthly tickets that work for unlimited trips by bus, metro and tranvia.  Since the day we arrived was a holiday here, we did not have to go to work.


UPC Campus


The next day I went to sign the apartment contract in the morning. After that I went to my work place.  I had to meet first with a person of Human Resources so I could get my tag. By the way, there is a lot of security in my building so you need your tag to enter the offices. Raul, a PhD student that works with my advisor, Rosa Badia, came to pick me up and guided me to me new workspace. Unfortunately my advisor was at Madrid that day, so I could not meet her that day.  In my room there are approximately 10 students, including me, working on different projects related to the COMPSproject. Another PhD student in the team, Danielle, met with me to talk about the project. Raul and Danielle are in the same floor but a different room. That day I had to read a couple more short papers about the future of the project and starting to get familiar with the Eclipse Plug-in development capabilities. I had lunch at the FIB cafeteria. I had a chicken sub and a drink for 6 EUR, which was good for me. After work, my friend took me to Montjuic, which is a palace that had the most amazing view of Barcelona.


Barcelona view 


On the third day, I finally met my advisor. She was very nice. Enric, another student working on the project helped me with the installation of COMPS on my account located on 3 of the machines they use to run it.  I also tried to look into Eclipse a little bit more and tried to follow a tutorial on how to create a Plug-In. I run some examples on COMPS and looked into the code to understand how it works. In the afternoon, i had lunch with Raul and some of his friends, who are also PhD students. The food is different from what I expected but it was good. This place was located at the Law Faculty of UPC, and it costs around 9 EUR. There is an appetizer, the entrée and a dessert. One thing about Barcelona is that Catalan is commonly used, so the menus are usually written in Catalan and you might need help to order. I speak Spanish, but I have been having trouble understanding some things.  After eating we went to sit on the grass and talk. They were very helpful too because they told me about a website where you can find the best way to go from one place to another in Barcelona. They said that the bus line 54 would be better for me, but to check it out the website just to make sure. The website was www.tmb.cat.


On Thursday I decided to take the bus to the UPC. I knew the stop was near my house so it would not be hard to find it. I found it and took the bus. After 30 minutes later, I realized that I had made a huge mistake. I took the right bus but in the wrong direction, so when I was in the downtown of the city already I decided to ask the bus driver. I got off the bus, crossed the street and took the right bus. After another 30 minutes I finally got to the UPC. After a productive day at work, where I figured out how to make a plug-in in Eclipse and understood a little better how COMPS works, I went back home. We still have no Internet service since it was a lot harder that we thought to get it without a 12-month year contract.

 View from the apartment.  The metro station is just in front of the building crossing the street.

I am enjoying my time at Barcelona and look forward to all the places I will visit and the people I will meet in the next few weeks.









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May 02, 2010

 Goal Statement

My main reason is to be part of an important research project and gain research experience that will benefit my professional career and my personal growth. Another reason to participate in this program is to travel and know different cultures. I want to see other places and come back with many photos and stories to tell my family and friends. Another

Being a Hispanic student, more specifically Ecuadorian, I am aware that there are discrimination issues in the place where I’ll be traveling. Also I am aware that European people might have a stereotype of Ecuadorian people. My goal is to represent not only FIU but my country as well and leave their names very high among the people I’ll be working with. Hopefully, I will not have to face any type of discrimination but, if I do, I wish I could be strong enough to handle it.    

Keywords: Global Training

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Anticipation and Expectation Exercise

A. What are the five things that you are most looking forward to about studying abroad?

1.      Travel to many European countries.

2.      Learn new technologies and participate in an important research program.

3.      Being independent  (living alone for the first time)

4.      Meet new people and get along with the other students also traveling with me.

5.      Having lots of fun!


B. What are the five things that currently worry you most about going overseas?

1.      Not finishing the project.

2.      Having problems with my roommates.

3.      Not having time to travel.

4.      Not liking the place where I’ll be living.

5.      To worry about the previous things.


C. What are the five things (people, places, activities, etc.) you believe you will miss most from home when abroad?

1.      Mom

2.      Boyfriend

3.      Cheap stuff

4.      My apartment

5.      Living “alone”

D. What are the five things (people, places, activities, etc.) you believe you will miss least  from home when abroad?

1.      Driving

2.      Hot weather

3.      Public  transportation

4.      Food

5.      Living with my mom (not her, but living with her…  hispanic girls understand  what I am talking about)

E. My greatest single challenge overseas will be: To work with very smart people in an important project and to exceed their expectations!! To visit as many European countries as possible in 11 weeks!!


Keywords: Global Training

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Top Ten Reasons To Study Abroad

1. Studying abroad is a life-altering experience!

Living for the summer in a country that is very different to yours will change your perspective and priorities in life.

2. Learn about yourself and gain independence.

You will have to manage your money and time. You will have to be responsible of everything you do.

3. Resume builder.

 Having some kind of research experience added to the fact that you did it in another country let employers know your versatility and adaptability to new places and situations.

4. See the world (or at least a part of it).

Going to Europe will allow you to visit many other countries within the European Union that are full of culture, history, and interesting people.

5. Make connections that can last a lifetime.

To establish connections inside and outside your country is important since it makes your network grow significantly. Make a good impression!

6. Experience unique academic structures.

Research experience will show you another possible career opportunity you might want to take in the future.

7. International travel and study are fun and exciting.

Traveling, traveling, traveling!

8. Programs work with any academic program.

Summer is the best time to take advantage of these programs.

9. Gain perspective on your own country and culture.

Knowing different cultures will show you that your “world” is not the only one! Open your eyes and your mind.

10. Learn a language in the country where it is spoken.

Spanish is my native language. However I look forward to practice my French and learn Catalan.




Keywords: Global Training

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