Joaquín García Carretero

Who are you? – I am Joaquín from Spain. My hometown is Chapinería, a small village with 3000 inhabitants in which you could find pricking stone and cattle raising as the main activities just a couple of decades ago. It’s about 45 minutes by car from Madrid. I study Energy Engineering at the Universidad Carlos III in Leganés. Most of my spare time I dedicate to playing violin in an orchestra. Actually, I had no preference between studying music or engineering at the end of my baccalaureate, so I did my best for both. I applied to one conservatoire in Spain but at the end it didn’t work. In music you need to be either the best in playing your instrument or you have to know the teacher to be able to enter. Obviously, I wasn’t the best nor did I know the right people.

Why did you choose Norway for your exchange studies? – Actually, I didn’t choose Norway. I chose Poland. But because the University in Lublin  didn’t offer enough subjects for me, I had to switch to Norway instead. In general, I had really limited options for an exchange, because I belong to the first class that started my degree in my home University, so they didn’t have enough time to find some adequate partner institutions. Anyway I have been to Finland previously, so I knew what a Scandinavian country would be like and that it would also be fine for me. If I could choose freely, I would do my exchange in Germany or Denmark. I have always thought that in Germany there are many beautiful places to visit and the culture is really different to the one we have in southern Europe. Moreover I would like to learn German. How do you perceive the Norwegian culture? – I am from Spain, which is a culture where everyone is involved and which is caring. If someone is around alone, people would notice and try to involve them in the conversation. Here in Norway nobody does that. If you want to get in contact, you have to do all the work yourself. And even if you ask others sitting next to you in the course, they might answer but turn away shortly after. That would never happen in Spain. I would say the culture is very distanced. It can be challenging at the beginning when you are new in the city and you just want to make some friends and share your experience with other people, but I also think that everybody needs to be alone sometimes. One of the best things I have seen in Norway is that they put a lot of effort in making children happy. There are long maternity leaves, school facilities are much better, you can see children spending time in the snow with their families, always smiling… maybe that’s the key for being successful when they become adults. Do you have a dream? – Here in Norway, I really would like to see the northern lights. One has to see those at least once in a lifetime. During the next years, I want to keep playing in an orchestra. I have spent too much time in my music skills. I wouldn’t be able to give up now that I can play in a more relaxed way. Furthermore music allows me to know lots of different people and traveling. Besides, I want to do a Master in wind engineering in Denmark. Most importantly, I hope to find a job in Spain, but chances are really bad at the moment. Therefore I have to be open to work somewhere else in Europe. I think, for most young people in Spain, the focus is mostly on getting a job at the moment. Traveling and such things come second.