EURSS 2022 Virtual Showcase Highlight Part. 1

EURSS Bandeau
EURSS Bandeau
The EUTOPIA Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (EURSS) provides an opportunity for EUTOPIA’s students to develop valuable transferable skills, build their confidence, and enhance their CV and career prospects by leading their own international research projects.
Projects are designed by students in collaboration with supervisors at two EUTOPIA universities. Mobility is a key component of the EURSS: participants are required to engage beyond national borders to carry out their research projects. Projects in all research fields are eligible.
This virtual showcase highlights some of the fascinating projects carried out by the students who successfully applied for a EURSS bursary in 2022. Find out more about their projects, and about their experiences of participating in the EURSS, below.
Arts and Humanities
Luana Vanderstraeten (VUB-UL)

Title: The Use of Discourse Markers by Spanish Language Learners
Home Institution: VUB
Home Supervisor: An Vande Casteele
Host Institution: UL
Host Supervisor: Barbara Pihler Ciglič


Impact statement (Flemish):

"Ik ben heel dankbaar dat ik mocht deelnemen aan het EURSS-project. Prof.  An Vande Casteele had mij voorgesteld om mij in te schrijven voor een onderzoekstraining rond pragmatische competentie in het Spaans aan de universiteit van Ljubljana, een universiteit waarmee zij samenwerkt in het kader van een Erasmus+ project “PRACOMUL: Pragmatic Competence from a Multilingual Perspective”. Het VUB research team ging eind juni naar Ljubljana voor de Summer School en ik vond het een eer dat mijn professor mij erbij wou. Het thema van mijn project situeert zich in het domein van de Spaanse taalverwerving en bestudeert hoe taalleerders met verschillende linguïstische achtergronden zich uiten in het Spaans. Sinds ik begonnen ben met het Spaans aan de universiteit is mijn interesse voor het Spaans ook alleen maar gegroeid. Daarom vond ik het meteen heel fijn om dit project in het Spaans te doen.  

EURSS leek mij een mooie kans om mijn kennis over de Spaanse linguïstiek uit te diepen.  

De verworven inzichten tijdens mijn onderzoeksverblijf bij Prof. Pihler Ciglič zullen mij ongetwijfeld helpen voor mijn volgende universiteitsopdrachten waaronder mijn thesis.  

Ik heb tijdens mijn research stay onder andere leren werken met een corpus uit transcripties van dialogen tussen taalleerders Spaans die afkomstig zijn van verschillende landen met zeer uiteenlopende moedertalen (Sloveens: Slavische taal, Nederlands: Germaanse taal, Italiaans: Romaanse taal…). Mijn research stay vond ook plaats in een ander land (Slovenië) wat de ervaring alleen maar interessanter maakte. Ik heb mogen samenwerken met onderzoekers uit het team van Prof. Pihler Ciglič en vond dat zeer verrijkend.  

Ten slotte beklemtoon ik graag mijn dankbaarheid voor deze zeer leerrijke ervaring. EURSS geeft studenten ontplooiingsmogelijkheden en is een mooie opportuniteit voor studenten. Ik raad andere studenten zeker aan om deel te nemen!"

Luana Vanderstraeten

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Nini Chrispeels (VUB-UL)

Nina picture
Nina picture
Title: Investigating neuromodulation techniques in aphasia
Home Institution: VUB
Home Supervisor: Stefanie Keulen
Host Institution: UL
Host Supervisor: Christina Manoulidou


Poster Nini Chrispeels EURSS 2022
Poster Nini Chrispeels EURSS 2022

Reflective essay:

"I applied for the EURSS program because I love going abroad, and wanted to take on every opportunity to gain research experience. Living in a new country for a couple of weeks while working on research that really interests me seemed like a dream opportunity. More than a year beforehand, I already knew I wanted to apply for the EURSS. Needless to say, I was very excited when I got accepted for funding. The funding allowed me not to worry about expenses while going abroad and to completely focus on my research.  

The EURSS gave me the opportunity to travel to a country I had never been to before: Slovenia. I stayed in the capital Ljubljana for a little over three weeks, which also gave me the chance to explore the city on my days off. I am very happy my home supervisor immediately thought about one of her colleagues and suggested going to Ljubljana, a city I maybe had never gone to visit myself. Due to my stay in Ljubljana, I got to experience a whole different research culture than the one at my home university. I got to work with EEG equipment, something I had never done before, to gain hands-on experience. My colleagues taught me everything I needed to know about the technique which provided me with a broad understanding of all the workings of EEG. I also got to experience what it is like undergoing an EEG experiment, since I have been a participant myself. So I got to work on both sides, as the researcher and the ‘researched’. 

I got to experience a different side of research, EEG, that I had not been into contact with before. Therefore, it sparked a new interest of mine and helped me gain more practical skills that might come in handy in the future. I also met fellow students and learned more about their journeys and interests.  

One downside was that everything in the research lab was slowing down a bit in the summer. Unfortunately, this led to me not being able to conduct the intended research and the study design had to be changed. Another consequence of the summer holidays being a slow time in terms of research was that not a lot of researchers/professors were on duty, and on some days no participants were scheduled. However, the EURSS was still a rewarding experience, both a journey to remember, and research training to put on my CV. I would recommend anyone to take the leap and apply for the EURSS. If you’re interested in research (or you think you are), you have the opportunity to have some practical experience, create memories abroad, and decide if research really is your cup of tea.  You have nothing to lose!"

Nini Chrispeels

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Polona Zabret (UL-VUB)

Polona picture
Polona picture
Title: Study of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) cases in Brussels
Home Institution: UL
Home Supervisor: Dan Podjed
Host Institution: VUB
Host Supervisor: Imre Keserü


Reflective essay:

"During my preliminary research and participation within Active8 Planet project, many questions have arisen regarding Mobility as a Service (MaaS) strategies, policies, and stakeholders. In order to find the answers and deepen the researched topic, I decided to apply for the EUTOPIA Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (EURSS), and conduct a six-week research project on Brussels’ based mobility pilot project MoveBrussels in the summer of 2022. I was sure that the actual opportunity to conduct research under the supervision of eminent mentors Prof. Dr. Cathy Macharis, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dan Podjed, and Doc. Dr. Imre Keserü, would bring important added value to my developing academic and personal sphere. As such, I was able to be involved in the hands-on learning about the possibilities on sustainable mobility systems. 

The funding I was able to receive through EURSS made it possible for me to focus on the research, it enabled me to immerse myself into the experience of living and working abroad, and excluding a part of the concerns of financial burdening. 

Overall, my experience of the involvement with the EURSS programme, was – on many levels – a fulfilling one. To clearly display: I was able to expand my professional network through various meetings with experts, who not only provided me with valuable information on the content of my research, but were also able to exhibit career opportunities that are bursting within the field of my interest. My engagement with The Mobility, Logistics and Automotive Technology Research Centre (MOBI)  at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel allowed me to function within a favourable environment, be surrounded by like-minded people, and receive any kind of support I might have needed. The given freedom to take the responsibility and lead my own research, expanded my knowledge on and deepened the understanding of the process of researching. 

Through the opportunity of research conducting and key experience of living abroad, I was thus able to deepen and develop my confidence, time management skills, responsibility, active listening and communication, constructive and targeted thinking, and endurance on many new levels. 

As part of my research and stay abroad, I also encountered many challenges. Of these, the lack of personal acquaintances, the language barrier and the new, unfamiliar living environment were the main ones. It was for this purpose that actively getting to know people, open and frequent communication, planned and fun explorations of the surroundings and involvement in activities were an equally important part that contributed to the overall experience of a short-term stay and research abroad. 

I would definitely recommend participation in the EURSS programme to anyone, who is filled with curiosity, a desire to learn, and active self-discovery. Namely, with the excellent support of EUTOPIA alliance, research institutions and mentors, it is an unforgettable experience that enriches us and our future."

Polona Zabret

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Irene Senyer i Espuña (UPF-GU)

Title: The event of Orpheus’s tragedy: A phenomenological approach to the Aristotelian concept of Hamartia
Home Institution: UPF
Home Supervisor: Antonio Monegal Brancos
Host Institution: GU
Host Supervisor: Gustavo Fernandez Walker

Irene Senyer EURSS 2022 poster
Irene Senyer EURSS 2022 poster

Reflective essay (Catalan):

"El passat estiu he dut a terme la recerca “The Event of Orpheus’ tragedy: a phenomenological approach to the Aristotelian concept of Hamartia” al Departament de Filosofia, Lingüística i Teoria de la Ciència de la Universitat de Göteborg, amb el suport del Departament d’Humanitats de la Universitat Pompeu Fabra a través de la beca EURSS 2022 d’EUTOPIA.

La meva investigació tenia com a objectiu apropar-me amb més concreció al concepte de l’esdeveniment de Gilles Deleuze a través del concepte aristotèlic d’Hamartia al mite d’Orfeu i Eurídice, ambdós autors estudiats durant la carrera, dels quals em vaig quedar amb ganes de saber-ne més. Aquesta beca m’ha brindat la oportunitat de poder fer precisament això.

Acadèmicament vaig escollir realitzar aquesta recerca amb la beca EURSS ja que em proporcionava una experiència única que personalment no havia tingut la ocasió de dur a terme durant el grau universitari. M’ha obert la porta a poder realitzar una recerca que havia començat a estudiar a la universitat però no tenia ni el temps ni els recursos per seguir investigant. Estic agraïda d’haver pogut seguir estudiant, amb el suport del professor Fernández Walker, un autor tan complex i actual com Deleuze en el pla filosòfic i un autor tan rellevant en l’estudi de les tragèdies com és Aristòtil. Alhora m’ha proporcionat la oportunitat de descobrir les possibilitats de la carrera acadèmica, i veure el funcionament d’una altra institució com és la Universitat de Göteborg, significativament diferent de la Universitat Pompeu Fabra i el sistema universitari català.

Personalment també considero que és una experiència molt recomanable. T’enriqueix no només el fet de viure a l’estranger durant la teva època universitària, sinó també el realitzar un treball completament autònom sense el suport d’una assignatura específica, com seria el cas de realitzar un Erasmus."

Irene Senyer i Espuña

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Lídia Torrecillas Castelló & Núria Giraldos & Virginia Anguera López (UPF-GU)

Title: The event of Orpheus’s tragedy: A phenomenological approach to the Aristotelian concept of Hamartia
Home Institution: UPF
Home Supervisor: Vicent Climent-Ferrando
Host Institution: GU
Host Supervisor: Johan Järlehed

Lidia, Nuria and Virginia EURSS 2022 poster
Lidia, Nuria and Virginia EURSS 2022 poster

Reflective essays:

"My experience with the EURSS bursary has been utterly positive. I first heard about this opportunity when a student who received this grant last year presented her project in my class, and it was at that moment when I first thought how amazing it would be to take part in a project like this.

I talked about it with a couple of friends, and the three of us ended up contacting a professor at our university and coming up with a project idea. Then, he proposed that we carry out a pilot test of a methodology he had been working on to study multilingualism, and we decided to try it out.

At first, we had some doubts because we thought this project would take a lot of work (which it did!) but, despite this fact, I am immensely grateful and proud of our project. We were not only given the chance to visit a foreign university and learn about their language usage, but we were also able to take our first steps in the research world, gaining real-life experience, but under the umbrella of our two tutors, one from each university. Furthermore, I have been blessed with the opportunity to share this experience with my two truly incredible research partners, without whom this project would not have been the same.

Something that shocked me while carrying out the research was how hard it is to gather the data. Even though we found lots of people willing to cooperate with us in order to help us, we reached out to hundreds of professors, most of whom did not answer our emails. This helped me understand, for sure, that research is not a bed of roses, but it also made me gain new resources and improve my capacities. Furthermore, the knowledge I acquired about the linguistic uses in these two universities has made me even more aware of the fact that we need to preserve our local languages in higher education.

In conclusion, I would say that having the privilege of being granted the EURSS bursary is something I will cherish forever. For all these reasons, I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the research world and gain real-life research experience while enjoying a truly international
once-in-a-lifetime adventure that has made me grow both as a researcher and as a person."

Lídia Torrecillas Castelló

"Durant aquests últims mesos, he pogut dedicar gran part del meu temps a un projecte molt enriquidor sobre un àmbit del meu interès gràcies al projecte EURSS 2022 facilitat per EUTOPIA. Ha estat una experiència única i que, sense cap mena de dubte, recomanaria a tothom que tingui interès, ja que t’ofereixen l’oportunitat de dur a terme un projecte que realment et motivi i tens llibertat i recursos per a poder fer-lo de la manera més efectiva.

Tot i que al principi no estava gaire segura de poder realitzar-ho (perquè mai havia dut a terme una recerca acadèmica d’aquestes magnituds), vaig voler intentar-ho i considero que, gràcies a l’EURSS, he adquirit habilitats molt útils per als meus estudis i futur i he desenvolupat i millorat altres: capacitat de recol·lectar grans quantitats de dades, classificar-les i extreure’n conclusions; aprendre a sintetitzar informació essencial; fer entrevistes i poder reconduir-les per tal de portar-les al nostre àmbit, entre moltes altres.

A més, el fet d’haver pogut realitzar el viatge a Göteborg (Suècia), m’ha permès conèixer una cultura i una metodologia universitària bastant diferent a Barcelona. Això va causar algunes dificultats per al projecte, però vam obtenir respostes molt aclaridores per part dels tutors i vam poder continuar amb la recerca. Potser aquesta és la dificultat principal amb què ens vam trobar.

El fet d’haver pogut realitzar el projecte en grup ha estat molt gratificant, ja que ens  hem complementat a la perfecció. Com totes som diferents, però bastant semblants i tenim els mateixos interessos, les habilitats que a una li manquen, les ha pogut millorar amb l’ajuda de les altres. A més, haver pogut realitzar el viatge amb elles ha estat molt especial i un factor que ha fet que sigui inoblidable.

A nivell personal, puc qualificar aquesta experiència com a molt satisfactòria. Tot i que anteriorment havia realitzat viatges a l’estranger, mai havia estat per fer un projecte de recerca acadèmic. Això ha permès que m’emporti molts aprenentatges, i no només a nivell acadèmic, sinó també a nivell personal: he après a organitzar tota mena d’esdeveniments, a enfrontar-me i solucionar els problemes o dificultats que anaven apareixent, però sobretot m’ha ajudat a desenvolupar-me a un país estranger i molt diferent a Catalunya.

Un altre aspecte molt important a tenir en compte a l’hora d’endinsar-se en aquest projecte és ser conscient de totes les portes que t’obrirà. És a dir, a més de poder posar-ho al currículum, a nosaltres ens ha portat a poder presentar-ho a una càtedra i poder fer una ponència sobre la nostra recerca; a part d’altres oportunitats que ofereix EUTOPIA.

Per finalitzar i com a petita conclusió, puc afirmar que és una experiència única i molt enriquidora. T’ofereix l’oportunitat de realitzar un projecte de qualsevol àmbit en què estiguis interessat i et proporcionen una gran ajuda. Fas un viatge a l’estranger mentre aprens sobre allò que t’agrada i guanyes tot tipus d’experiències i habilitats necessàries per als estudis, per al futur i per a la vida."

Núria Giraldos

"For me, the EURSS experience has been something completely different and new. It was the perfect opportunity to get a grasp of how language policies from two universities –my home and host– work. Thanks to EUTOPIA I have got to experience how it is to visit a university in a far-off country, and together with my research partners we carried out our professor and tutor’s pilot test on a topic particularly talked about nowadays.
In our ever-changing, globalised world connections amongst countries are all the time becoming stronger and stronger. We build bonds that unite us especially when it comes to higher education systems, where many people from different places converge. Sometimes we have the wrong image or we immediately associate a community with a certain level of development or we deem them as more intelligent because of this and that when in fact it’s nothing like it.

The undertaking of this research project has made me reflect on the reality of the internationalisation era we are living in, and how this affects our education at universities. English is taking on many important fields, but to my surprise many think it will never fully replace the local languages of a particular area, which is the case we have been studying the past month. Preservation of local languages is as essential as it is providing access to everyone to the acquisition of a foreign language.

When I applied for this, I wasn’t fully aware of all the work it could mean to analyse all various aspects of language usage in order to get significant data and draw graphs on the subject matter. Nonetheless, we were able to obtain a general idea of the issue and I believe this will serve as good information for further research to be made into the topic.

I would also like to thank everyone who has been part of this project and has helped us answering questions in short interviews. It was a fun thing to do, especially with my two colleagues and friends from university. This trip will be forever memorable. As for EUTOPIA and in particular the EURSS, I am really grateful I was selected to be a part of the initiative. I believe this European alliance of universities is still small but growing continually. More awareness of it should be raised amongst all the youth in Europe so that it’s taken time and again into account."

Virginia Anguera López

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Irene Garcia Andres (UW-CY)

Title: La Retirada: Spanish refugees in the South of France in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War
Home Institution: UW
Home Supervisor: Rosie Doyle
Host Institution: CY
Host Supervisor: Caroula Argyriadis-Kervegan

Reflective essay:

"I was not initially planning on taking part in the EURSS, and I only found out about it a day before the deadline. After some hurried emails with my supervisor, a project idea soon materialized: I would focus on the experiences of Spanish exiles in the south of France in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. This was a topic I was already interested in, however the EURSS enabled me to study it in a completely unique way. It gave me the opportunity to stay in Toulouse, known as the capital of Spanish exile, meaning that I was walking the very same streets that the protagonists of my research would have walked. This made history feel incredibly real and tangible in a way it had rarely felt during my degree studies. This was thanks to the funding given to me. Without it, I would have completed the project remotely, and I would have lost the perspective I gained from visiting the archives or the museums. 

The physicality of my research also meant that all the archives, monuments, memorials and museum were a bus or train journey away. In the three weeks I spent in Toulouse, I was able to visit a variety of different places and interact with different sources. This was something I had never had the chance to do. There was something very official about sitting in front of a box of old telegrams at Toulouse’s departmental archives – I felt like a historian. At the same time, the sheer number of different sources I was using could also be overwhelming. Sifting through papers and listening to interviews is a tedious task, and even when I did find the sources I was looking for, I wanted to make sure I was doing them justice. Analysing sources is something I will continue to work on as I continue my studies. 

The EURSS has ultimately proven that I enjoy doing research beyond my degree. Even though my research could be frustrating at times, and it meant I spent quite some time alone among books, it was an amazing experience. I felt proud of my work, and I enjoyed the more creative aspects of research as well. I really recommend the EURSS to anyone interested in research, as it is a rare chance to do funded research on whichever topic you are interested in!"

Irene Garcia Andres

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Social Sciences P.1
Iván Ruiz García (VUB-UPF)

Ivan Garcia VUB
Ivan Garcia VUB
Title: Expressed Will to Exercise Practical Autonomy in Mink: An animal-based-interest approach for banning fur farming in the EU
Home Institution: VUB
Home Supervisor: Christopher Parker, Conflict & Development, Ghent University
Host Institution: UPF
Host Supervisor: Ezequiel Páez, Critical Animal Studies

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Reflective essay:

"What a thought provoking and actionable experience! This opportunity of developing professional research has improved my skills in project organization, while broadening my knowledge in field-study approaches. Articulating the argument for an animal-interest-based ban on EU mink farming is the first step to establish strategic production of energy for a free and independent EU on energy.

I am a 2nd bachelor student at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and I chose the Pompeu Fabra University as the host university because the city of Barcelona is one of the hotspots of critical (CAE-UPF) and legal (AL&S-UAB) animal studies in the whole EU. Aside from merging in such a great community of researchers, some of whom I have been reading for years, I have been able to develop this research thanks to great supervisors in fields from moral philosophy to conflict development to applied ethology veterinarians.

At the beginning of the process, I was very dubious to get selected, and it was this precisely what pushed me to do it. Then I was able to see it as an opportunity to test the feasibility of a project I have had in mind for a long time. I will recommend it as well for new researchers and students that are not sure where to start investing their effort for the best accomplishment of social justice issues. If not you, who will? If not now, when then?

EUTOPIA has pushed me to learn to structure large amounts of literature; ranging from Applied Ethology, Moral Philosophy, Behavioral Psychology, Natural Law and Social Contract theory.

I found it a very useful method to start by making a presentation that must be the backbone of a larger written project. The basic idea of getting funded to develop a research that you hold enables you to expand on your ideas and contribute better to a science that inspires legislation and, thus, to society over all. Including the most forgotten individuals and oppressed groups subject to the unlimited desires of our species."

Iván Ruiz García (VUB-UPF)

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Zsófia Jákói (VUB-UPF)

Zsofia picture
Zsofia picture
Title: Tools of securitization- How does the Frontex Risk Analysis affect the European border management and policies?
Home Institution: VUB
Home Supervisor: Florian Trauner
Host Institution: UPF
Host Supervisor: Lorenzo Gabrielli

Zsofia EURSS project p1
Zsofia EURSS project p1

Zsofia EURSS project p2
Zsofia EURSS project p2

Reflective essay:

"When I first saw the Eutopia Undergraduate Research Scholarship opportunity, I immediately knew I had to apply. It seemed like the perfect step for me to take after graduating from the Bachelor of Social Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Brussels. While I was writing my final paper throughout my last year, I researched a topic close to my heart, I discovered that there are more dimensions to my topic than I had previously anticipated. Therefore, I applied to the EURSS with a proposal built upon that ongoing research after I managed to get support from two amazing professors from Vrije Universiteit Brussels and University Pompeu Fabra.

I found it a unique chance to enhance and try out my research skills outside my regular studies. During the first few weeks, the liberty provided by EURSS and my supervisors were scary. However, as time went by, I learned to appreciate it; moreover, I feel I grew both personally and professionally throughout my participation in this project. After a month of research, I realized that the methodological setup I did before starting the project had to change somewhat. In order to fill in holes in the literature, I had to set up interviews with local experts. This was a challenging experience for multiple reasons: first, I spent the summer in Barcelona, and my research was focused on Spain, I needed to find experts in a very specific field who had time for me. The organization and the conduction of these interviews would naturally be out of my comfort zone, however, overall, I found it an enriching experience that I will be able to use in my further professional life as well.

Personally, spending more than a month during the summer in Barcelona was an experience that I will never forget and could never have happened without the grand support and grant provided by Eutopia.

Everyone I have met at my host university, University Pompeu Fabra, was nothing but helpful to me and provided an inspiring environment for me to conduct my research. I would highly recommend the Eutopia Research Scholarship to anyone, who wants to grow, challenge and learn about themselves. This whole experience is one on which I will always look back with nothing but delighted memories."

Zsófia Jákói

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Imane Chahbi & Laura Deprost (CY-UL)

Imane Chahbi picture
Imane Chahbi picture - Imane Chahbi
Laura Deprost picture
Laura Deprost picture - Laura Deprost
How did Slovenia and France manage to be two of the most advanced countries in terms of sustainable development?
Home Institution: CY
Home Supervisor: Mathieu Martin
Host Institution: UL
Host Supervisor: Tjaša Redek

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Reflective essays:

"My EUTOPIA experience with the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia has been extremely enriching both academically and personally. First of all, this experience allowed me to explore in depth a topic that had interested me for a long time.
What's more, in the leading European country in this field and with the help of precious advice from a local professor who is an expert in the field we were interested in. The project in which I participated is research on the theme of sustainable development in France and Slovenia.

Without the financial support that the project offers, I would not have been able to live such an experience, I would not have been able to acquire new skills.
Indeed, this project allowed me to develop many skills such as knowing how to look for reliable information, in university laboratories and libraries, on approved websites but also in contact with people concerned by the subject.

The best part of the program was learning so much about a seemingly simple subject that I felt I knew about. The contact with the locals during the implementation of our survey is also a good memory that I will keep for a long time.

In the end, I came out of this experience stronger, the fact that I was taken out of my comfort zone made me aware of the academic points I have acquired and those I still need to work on, such as my English level. Thanks to the EUTOPIA experience, I know for example that I should learn this language in a less academic way and speak with English speakers in order to develop my skills in this language. As far as the economic plan is concerned, I am even more interested than before, I now see it as a field that can help future generations.

The only negative point I could find in this project is that when we were there, we didn't necessarily know who to refer to on the administrative level. Fortunately the academic staff was very responsive and the papers were signed within a week.

I highly recommend this very rewarding experience, it allows us to get out of our comfort zone, to be supported by competent people who know their field and to develop many skills as mentioned above. And this, in an autonomous way by working as we wish. The panel of partner universities proposed allows us to choose the one that corresponds to our project."

Imane Chahbi

"The Eutopia experience was a huge opportunity for working abroad and discovering another language, culture and lifestyle. This project allowed us to develop and learn several skills as language skills by reading a lot of websites , immersed ourselves in a foreign country, and dig deeper in a subject that interested us.

Nevertheless, I must admit that this project was a little challenging and sometimes difficult, searching things on a lot of websites and in the city wasn’t that easy.
Also, which added an additional difficulty was that we studied a totally different subject than we usually do. At the beginning we started almost from scratch, we knew not a lot on this subject.
Thus, without this international experience it would have been difficult to carry on this research because we didn’t know Ljubljana and its level of sustainability at all.
Fortunately, we were two for searching information and our tutor, gave us several sources, as Eurostat, that we used all along this research and that was very helpful.
For me, being two was a great advantage, in Ljubljana we always worked by team and helped each other when we had some incomprehension. At the beginning of our research we shared equitably our tasks , so that we could focus on what we had to do.

Moreover, we decided to study ecology because we found that the link between our regular studies, that is to say economics sciences, and ecology was very interesting. Indeed, with the development of the global warming this kind of research have to spread around the world to enhance our way of behave.

Also we chose to do our research under the form of slides because we wanted to really dig in the subject but also let a print of our research. Therefore, we decided to do an essay that had illustration and that was pretty long, so we chose slides.
In addition I think it will be a good experience to add to my curriculum as I want to work . Furthermore, for my career study I planned to do another exchanges, thus this first short experience was a good foretaste of what is waiting for me.

In order to improve future student’s experience I think it would be great if this project was better framed. Sometimes explanations weren’t clear, fortunately the Eutopia’s policy officer was available to answer to all of our questions. Also, staff from Ljubljana University helped us a lot for the administrative part.

To put in a nutshell, to me the Eurss project is a good way to widen your knowledge and your culture but also to improve your skills and develop your way of thinking. Therefore, I surely recommend to do this project in team or alone, you will learn on a personal as well as on the intellectual level."

Laura Deprost

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Alba Marí Sánchez & Pau Verdú i Blas (UPF-UL)

Title: China’s influence in the Western Balkans: Implications for the integration of the region in the European Union
Home Institution: UPF
Home Supervisor: Josep Ibañez Muñoz
Host Institution: UL
Host Supervisor: Boštjan Udoviĉ


Reflective essays (Catalan):

"La participación en EURSS Eutopia ha sido un gran oportunidad para desarrollar un proyecto de investigación en mi ámbito académico de especialización y profundizar en el estudio de dos aspectos de las Relaciones Internacionales que me atraen particularmente: la política exterior de la Unión Europea y la cuestión de la creciente influencia de la República Popular China en el mundo.

En primer lugar, como aspecto positivo quiero destacar la oportunidad que ha sido poder vivir en otro país de la Unión Europea durante casi un mes. Es indudable que las tres semanas que pasamos en Eslovenia nos sirvieron para ayudarnos a entender mejor la realidad política, social e histórica de los Balcanes Occdinestales. Además, también tuvimos la posibilidad de realizar un viaje corto a Croacia, algo que nos ayudó a contrastar las realidades de dos países balcánicos.

A su vez, también hay que destacar positivamente el poder contar con dos tutores de universidades diferentes. En nuestro caso, Josep Ibañez (Pompeu Fabra), nos ha aportado un mayor entendimiento sobre el funcionamiento de la política exterior china. Mientras que la tutorización de Boštjan Udovič (Ljubljana) ha sido clave para entender mejor el proceso de integración europea de los Balcanes Occidentales y los retos a los que se enfrentan en dicho proceso los dos países en los que hemos centrado nuestra investigación (Macedonia del Norte y Montenegro). Considero que todos estos factores han ayudado de forma significativa a aumentar la calidad académica de nuestro proyecto de investigación.

Por otro lado, y a nivel personal, la experiencia me ha servido a nivel académico para aumentar mi interés por el ámbito de la política exterior europea y consilidad mi interés por el análisis de la política exterior china. Otro aspecto beneficioso que también me gustaría mencionar es la autonomía que se nos da a la hora de llevar a cabo nuestra investigación. Considero que en el corto plazo, mi participación en EURSS ha tenido un impacto positivo en mi experiencia académica, ya que además del desarrollo del trabajo como tal, también me ha abierto otras nuevas oportunidades, como mi asistencia como ponente durante el mes pasado al ICUR.

Con todo, y aunque como he mencionado, la experiencia ha sido inmensamente positiva, fue una pena tener la Universidad de Ljubljana cerrada durante la mayor parte de nuestra experiencia, ya que complicó un poco el poder desarrollar de forma plena nuestro proyecto de investigación mientras estábamos en la ciudad. A nivel de recomendación, sería interesante poder contactar con otros participantes que vayan a la misma ciudad de antemano. Y también podría estar bien tener la posibilidad de contactar con estudiantes de la universidad de destino (no necesariamente participantes en el proyecto EURSS) que puedan darnos algunas ideas previas sobre la ciudad y/o la universidad.

Aún así, creo que la experiencia ha sido ampliamente positiva y la recomendaría a cualquier persona que tuviese alguna idea de investigación que quisiese desarrollar en profundidad. Por último, también me gustaría dar las gracias al proyecto Eutopia, pues sin su financiación, me habría sido imposible tener esta experiencia."

Alba Marí Sánchez

"El projecte EURSS em va brindar l'oportunitat de desenvolupar una investigació en el camp de les relacions polítiques i comercials internacionals. Com a estudiant de Filosofia, Política i Economia vull orientar la meva carrera en aquest sentit però no vaig tenir l’oportunitat de fer-ho a través del meu TFG, per manca d’un tutor especialitzat en el tema. Endemés, em va donar l’oportunitat de treballar amb la meva companya d’investigació, amb qui comparteixo interessos acadèmics, en un projecte comú que a més el poguéssim desenvolupar a la regió estudiada.

El nostre treball estudiava la influència xinesa en els processos d'accés a la UE dels països dels Balcans Occidentals, especialment amb el paper de la inversió en infraestructura centrat en els casos de Macedònia del Nord i Montenegro. El fet de poder desenvolupar la recerca a Eslovènia, un exemple éxitos d’integració a la UE d’un país dels balcans, va ser molt enriquidor per la recerca. Junt amb el procés de recerca, el fet de poder conèixer de primera mà la regió a través de museus i algunes petites excursions per la zona (incloent Croàcia) ens van permetre comprendre de primera mà la història recent dels Balcans i el procés de desintegració de l’antiga Iugoslàvia, importants per el seu procés d’integració europea. Malauradament no vam poder viatjar als països dels casos d’estudi per els costos i les distancies amb la capital eslovena. També va ser molt interessant per la investigació comptar amb un tutor de l’Univerza v Ljubljani que ens ajudes a reformular i comprendre millor la regió dels Balcans conjuntament amb un tutor de la UPF que ens ajudes a ajustar el tema de la investigació i la pregunta de recerca.

Tot i que en general l'experiència va ser més que positiva, no vam tenir l'oportunitat de conèixer gaire la universitat de destí donat que vam estar a l’agost, i dos de les tres setmanes de la nostra estada els campus van romandre tancats. Tampoc vam tenir la possibilitat de contactar amb altres estudiants d’EUTOPIA que estiguessin desenvolupant la seva recerca a la universitat. Desgraciadament ha estat una oportunitat perduda per fer networking amb altres estudiants europeus amb qui compartir interessos i valors, i trobo que podria ser interessant per part de les universitats intentar coordinar una activitat de benvinguda per els diferents aplicants al programa EURSS, tot i que entenc les dificultat que això suposaria, especialment per la flexibilitat de dates que permet el programa, que se’ns dubte és una qualitat molt positiva del projecte.

Aprofito l’statement per agrair a la organització d’EURSS l’oportunitat de fer aquesta recerca, que no hagués estat possible sense la beca. Crec que tindrà una repercussió molt positiva cap el meu futur acadèmico-laboral i de fet ja m’ha brindat noves oportunitats com la de poder presentar la recerca al projecte ICUR. Ha estat una experiencia molt positiva que sense lloc a dubte recomanaria a persones que tinguin una bona idea de recerca que es pogués beneficiar de desenvolupar-la en alguna de les universitats membres."

Pau Verdú i Blas

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Alfonso Pérez Ramírez (UPF-GU)

Title: The Focus of European Firms on the UN Sustainable Development Goals over Time: A Content Analysis of Annual / CSR / ESG Reports
Home Institution: UPF
Home Supervisor: Luz Parrondo Tort
Host Institution: GU
Host Supervisor: Viktor Elliot

Alfonso perez ramirez EURSS project
Alfonso perez ramirez EURSS project

Reflective essay:

"When I first learned about the Eutopia Undergraduate Research Support Scheme, I immediately started to outline a project to delve deeper into a topic that fascinated me since it was briefly discussed in my accounting class and presented it to my professor and home supervisor, PhD Luz Parrondo Tort. Thanks to her interest and support, I became even more motivated to work further on my proposal and eventually got my EURSS grant. As a research-passionate with a strong vocation for teaching, I thought this was a good and different way to have a first contact with the academic field.

I must say that I consider it one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had the opportunity to carry out a project from zero and through all its phases, I learned more than ever about research as a field and how to plan this type of work. Not only that, but I was also able to explore a topic that interested me, as well as research methodologies to find answers to my questions.

Obviously, it was also challenging, I sometimes felt lost or wanted to cover too many topics. I realized that I did not even know what a good study actually is, but overcoming these challenges with the help of my supervisors is precisely what taught me the most and changed my perspective on research.

And, of course, I did not only get this valuable experience and skills for my career. When I first landed in Gothenburg, I was as afraid as I was excited. I was 19 years old and alone in another country for a month for the first time in my life, but this experience simply changed me. During my stay in Sweden I discovered parts of myself that I did not know I had, I found an autonomous and bold version of myself, eager to travel and discover places, forests, islands… that I did not even know that existed anywhere in the world and encouraged day after day by the stunning landscapes I was seeing in my excursions. I returned to Barcelona as a more independent, confident and courageous person.

In summary, EURSS gave me the opportunity to explore Sweden and myself, it gave me the opportunity to meet my enthusiastic host supervisor, PhD Viktor Elliot, and learn more than ever about research and its methods, and most importantly, it encouraged me even more to pursue my dreamed academic career.

I would encourage anyone, and especially those interested in research, to take advantage of this scheme and carry out a project abroad, I assure you it is an experience you will not forget!"

Alfonso Pérez Ramírez

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Carles Paré Ogg (UPF-CY)

Title: The Focus of European Firms on the UN Sustainable Development Goals over Time: A Content Analysis of Annual / CSR / ESG Reports
Home Institution: UPF
Home Supervisor: Salvador Estapé
Host Institution: CY
Host Supervisor: Yann Giraud


Reflective essay:

"Being a student who considers attractive to stay in university after the studies to research and teach, the EURSS scheme was the perfect opportunity to get a taste of it, being able to spend some funded weeks doing what it is otherwise impossible to do: focus on a research project of my own without bothering about the other thousand obligations one has during the year. It really stopped everything to focus me on diving into the literature, being gradually more and more comfortable with it, swimming through texts, connecting ideas and being creative during all day long. I loved it to the point that I found it challenging to restraint myself to read within the boundaries of the research, and eventually ended up surpassing them and reformulating the project as I became aware of important conterminous topics.

The long days spent in the library reading and writing, writing and reading, grew into a considerable pile of notes, bibliography and marked pdfs which I hope can help me to structure a first version of a paper, so this opportunity was indeed hugely valuable for me.

As for the program, the double supervision system helped having a first guide from two points of view, which enriched the process: double discussions, double references, double comments, double help. It was also lovely getting to know other fellows who were researching on their own projects, trying to share each one’s research, posing questions to one another, and trying to help each other.

On the contrary, it was a challenge going during summer, since it is not the best period to go to study to university libraries because they might be closed during August, which complicates things if one needs to get specific books. But I managed it satisfactorily splitting my stay and avoiding the closure.

Apart from the research in itself, going to Cergy allowed me to attend a conference of the area I am researching, the 19th conference of the Charles Gide Society at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. This was an amazing experience which provided me a brief taste of how academic life is —from how conferences are to socialising —having the opportunity to meet some academics who wisely guided me with my research, and hearing interesting research projects. Some of them were more in progress, and I observed how research is done and how exposure and feedback is key, and some were more mature, thus understanding the whole research process.

Overall, I consider my research stay at CY Cergy an unquestionably positive experience, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of this project and I hope many other students can be so in future editions."

Carles Pare Ogg

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