Over the past winter holidays, I had the amazing opportunity of visiting San Sebastián, Spain alongside three wonderful engineering peers. It was a two week engineering pro gram at the University of Navarra. The four of us from UTS had been split up into two of the three available courses, one focusing on drug development (biomedical engineering), and the other focusing on robotics.
After finding out that I had been accepted into the program, I was both very excited and anxious. I had many concerns regarding accommodation and transportation, as I had never travelled to Europe prior to this. However, this anxiety was largely alleviated very soon after, as I was able to meet the three other students that would be joining me in Spain through the mandatory workshop. We managed to coordinate our flights and accommodation, finding a great airbnb apartment within 10 minutes walking distance from the campus!
The two week course itself was structured very well. Each day, we had class from 9am till 1:30pm, with a lunch break in between the two sessions. The classes were run by Dr Jacobo Paredes, Mr. Javier Aldabai, and Dr. Kiana Aran. These three professors were very knowledgeable and helpful, being highly qualified professionals in the field of biomedical engineering. We had lectures, computer labs and biomedical laboratory experiments for each topic we had covered. As well as this, we were assigned fun challenges such as designing a pill with various enzyme specific coats, with the objective of reaching a specific part of the body. These exercises really allowed us to consolidate what we had learned, as well as allowing for creative freedom. The professors placed a strong focus on discussion, which I very much enjoyed. They had allowed all of us to share our ideas and encouraged us to think outside the box. It was very exciting to learn that Dr Kiana and Dr Jabobo had actually worked together on a drug mechanism known as MucoJet, which was very recently FDA approved and funded!
While the content we were learning was really interesting, the course structure had also allowed for a lot of interaction and socialisation with other engineering students. Us UTS students were joined by 30 other American students, with the majority of them coming from the University of Michigan. During our scheduled dinners and city tours, we were all able to interact and share stories. I can’t promise that I have nailed the American accent, but I have many new funny phrases under my belt that I was very excited to learn.
Overall, I found the two week course to be such an amazing and memorable experience. It went by way too fast! Before I knew it, I was back at the airport, ready to embark on my 30 hour adventure home.
I was so honoured and proud to be representing UTS overseas, especially having discovered such amazing peers through this program! I would definitely recommend this to everyone, as I am sure I will be babbling on about this for years to come.
Thank you so much to UTS build for giving me this opportunity, and I hope I’ll be able to do something as amazing as this again soon!