María Paula González is studying Gastronomy and from the University of Lleida, Spain, she tells us how she has lived this experience that the Uni scholarships have given her:

When you entered Uni did you know there were international programs?
Yes, it was one of the reasons why I stayed to study at Uni after being in high school as well.

Did you think you would go to live and study abroad?
It was always in my plans to go with this program but I never thought I would actually have the opportunity to do it.

Have you ever lived or studied outside of Mexico before?
Yes, but not for more than 2 months.

What prompted or motivated you to study in another country?
Mainly because of my career, since studying gastronomy always means discovering and learning new things; and there is no better way to gain culinary experience than traveling.
Besides that, I always knew that getting out of the routine and living experiences like this make you grow as a person.

Why did you decide to study in that country?
Being one of the destinations in Europe that the Uni had, I thought it was the best option to have more ease to travel and see many places, and also because of the opinions of students who had already been in Lleida.

How did you feel when you arrived in the new country?
At the beginning I was not so happy and I was afraid of not adapting, leaving your home is difficult and the feelings are too many. Although it was in Spain, Lleida is in Catalonia, so the classes were in Catalan and I didn't understand anything. I really didn't know what was waiting for me.

How have you been received at the university where you arrived?
In the internationalization office they have been very kind and have given me a lot of security with all that fear of entering a new school. Despite having to deal with more than 180 students of more than 20 nationalities, they always have a personal touch and enough time to assist you and help you with whatever you need.

What will you miss most about Mexico?
Without a doubt, the food. Studying gastronomy has made it a little easier for me to live alone and I love to try new things, plus Spanish food is one of my favorites, but there is nothing like Mexican food.
I also missed my family and friends a lot but I could talk to them every day, so I was always close in some way.

What about the Uni?
My cooking classes more than anything else; in Lleida there is no career as such, so all my classes were theoretical. Also to my teachers, in the Uni all have an individual treatment with the student and in Lleida there was sometimes no way to reach an agreement or get an advice, because there were classes in which there were more than 90 students.

What is the most exciting thing you have experienced so far in this experience?
All the friendships I formed.
Studies, responsibilities and travel are an up and down of emotions and feelings every day that you are away, but to see that the group of strangers you arrived with are now like your family is something incredible.

And the hardest part?
The hardest part of living such an incredible experience is learning to say goodbye.

What do you expect as a person and as a professional from this program?
Going on exchange changes you for life, I think that after this experience I learned things that I could not explain. Learning to live alone, living in another country and leaving your routine makes you grow as a person, it teaches you to value and be responsible. And the best of all is that whatever career you study, internationalization will always open your mind in a way that will open many doors for you in the future.

Do you recommend these opportunities provided by Uni to your colleagues?
If you have the opportunity to go and live this experience, don't think about it. You are going to live the best experience of your life.