On Wednesday 21, Carolina Martinez, Maria Soto and I, Maria Barco (coordinator of I.C.J.A.), went to Barcelona to participate in the XIX Exporecerca Jove organized by Magma. A new opportunity to learn with and from people who have the same research interests as us. We arrived at the Hostal Sant Jordi and we were given our rooms. Ours was shared with other delegations like Brazil, Mexico and Paraguay, which was a great experience. Immediately we knew each other a little bit better, names, ages, studies, hobbies… Conversations to break the ice.
We had to get up earlier than usual, at 6 am to be exact. Carol, Maria and the rest of the participants had to prepare the Stand before the Opening Ceremony, where they welcomed us all. Besides, there was a brief talk where they transmitted to us that when science and art come together it is a guaranteed success. During the morning the first judges passed by. Maria and Carol began to talk to each other nervously about starting to expose “What do I say? Will I be boring? Should I change this sentence?” The first person arrived, they did great and the nerves were left behind. Then it was time for lunch and after it, three more hours of shows. With the calmer atmosphere, they began to interact with other participants, staying after the fair finished to have a drink and get to know each other better. The truth is that at the end of the day we were exhausted, between the nerves, exhibitions, walks, but without a doubt, it was a very good first contact.
During the whole morning, we had exhibitions to which different judges and students of Institutes and Schools of Barcelona attended. The truth is that it is amazing how people between 12 and 17 years old have knowledge of things that are explained in the University Degrees. The eagerness with which their research work is carried out, trying to transmit everything they have learned by making it interesting, even if you have no basis for understanding the project itself, is incredible.
In the afternoon, we coordinators went to a workshop, and when I returned I saw how Maria and Carolina had already managed to let it go completely, and together with other delegations were explaining the projects to each other. This is part of the magic of these fairs, you meet people who are totally different in terms of culture, but who share the same concerns as you; they like the unknown, they don’t give up, they are constant in their work, they always have questions, ideas…
At the end of the day’s exhibitions, the people in charge of Magma gave us a tour of Barcelona, explaining the most important features of each area: the Arc de Triomphe, Plaça Catalunya, Las Ramblas, and Barcelona’s cathedral among others. Later we went for dinner and then straight to the hotel. The next day was the last one and we had to make the most of it.
Last day having breakfast altogether, the last day of the subway, the last day of exhibitions, the last day of getting to know each other, the last day of Exporecerca 2018. To tell the truth, these three days were “seen and unseen”, but also quite intense.
In the morning we went to the exhibitions just like the previous days. After lunch, the participants had to dismantle all the stands and then we went to the Cosmo-Caixa, where the closing ceremony took place.
Before the ceremony, Carol and Maria, together with the rest of the participants, enjoyed a visit to the planetarium where they were told about the black matter and other aspects of space.
During the ceremony, the prizes were awarded. The directors of the Exporecerca were in charge and we watched a video commemorating all that has been lived in this fair.
At 10 am we set off for Zaragoza, and we arrived safely since fortunately there is Google Maps.
An experience remains in our lives, both in those of the participants and in mine. Thank you very much Magma for allowing us to participate in this fair.
We hope to see you at the International Congress of Young Researchers in Zaragoza!
By María Barco