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María Elisa Peña: "I could select the university I like better, and I chose the best one, obviously"

5.dic.2013.- María Elisa is from the Dominican Republic and is 37 year old. She is BA in Accounting by Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago, in the Dominican Republic, and has a master’s degree in Nutrition Sciences and Technology by ISA University. “The excellent reputation the UPCT has in Research” according to her, was the reason why she applied for the AECI scholarship from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to come and do her doctorate at UPCT, where she has developed a thesis about the pomegranate postharvest treatment.

- What was the reason why you came to the UPTC?
- When I got the AECI scholarship to do the doctorate I could select any university I liked better, and I chose the best one, obviously. In the Dominican Republic, the UPCT is the most reputed university in terms of research quality, mainly the postharvest team, and that was the first reason why I decided to come to Cartagena.

- How is your stay so far?
- Workwise, the experience is being incredible, because I got here with not much knowledge in this area, but I had people so close to me who helped me as many times as it was necessary, as much to my colleagues as to my thesis directors. They have always given me their support and, most importantly, they have motivated me to go on all the time.

- What do you like the most about your stay?
- I would stand out everything, from learning to knowing the professional team, the colleagues at the university… When you are new a different place, the integration tends to be quite hard, but people here have treated me with the warmth of a family from the very first moment, I felt like being home… I recommend all the people not to be scared of going abroad, not to limit themselves and try to take the risk because they will not regret having done it.

- Would you like to come back here?
- I will be going home on December the 11th, and when I went to pick up the endorsement of my degree they asked me if I would like to leave a power of attorney for someone else to get it for me, and I replied “no way! Because I will come back and get it! Sure, I will come back here… Even though it will be for just a 6 months stay.

- You are about to finish your doctorate at the UPCT. What are your plans for the future?
- When I came to Cartagena with the AECI scholarship I was working at ISA University, so I will resume the duties at my original post as soon as I arrive. I will go on researching at the university.

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