Alicia Rojo, Year 13 student at Caxton College, talks about her experience in the selection of Becas Europa

“Becas Europa” is a programme developed by the University Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid. The 50th brightest high school students from all over Spain will participate in this training program rewarded by The Banco Santander. The selected students will have the opportunity to travel around Europe for 20 days, visiting the most important universities in our continent by attending to talks and lectures which each university offers.

I’d love to say I am one of those 50 lucky students.  Nonetheless, we haven’t been told yet who will be going, but the experience of the selection was enough for me! Being one of the 50 selected is extremely difficult.
Three students from each school in Spain are chosen to participate in the first round trying to impress the jury speaking about our hobbies, extracurricular activities, sports and voluntary works.  The jury then chooses 600 students in Spain that will participate in the second round and then finally 282 students in the last round. I was given the amazing chance of being one of them.
Around November, the 282 finalists had to complete a further test before going to the “Selection Weekend”. In this challenge we needed to work on a project related to our professional future.  I decided to carry out the one on Journalism, which was my second favorite degree, but with the mock exams getting closer it was really difficult to complete the task although I must say the final result was great!
When it came up to the Selection Weekend, I met a bunch of other scholarship-seekers so the journey to Madrid was already an experience. At 18.00, the real thing started, we were assigned into groups of 10 and many surprises were yet to come. The first one was the Nobel Prize in Medicine (2005) Robin Warren´s amazing talk, however we couldn’t imagine how intense the next day was going to be.
Exams, group work, lectures, music, drama and sports…even though we were constantly supervised it didn’t feel as a competition. The most impressive activity on that Saturday was Fernando Apan’s speech, a 21-year old, blind Mexican pianist who gave us a motivational talk and played the piano for us.
Sunday was an extraordinary day; we went through the November project along with the other students that had chosen the same degree (journalism). The teacher helping us was an actual journalist working at Francisco de Vitoria.
So no matter what happens, no matter what they tell announce, I seriously feel a winner. I feel a winner because it helped me organise my ideas and discover what I am, and most importantly, what I’m not.
Thank you, Becas Europa.
Alicia Rojo

The Caxton Chronicles
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