As per previous days, we kicked the day off just after 8’o clock from the hotel lobby. Some munched on their sandwiches while others were figuring out an appropriate amount of coffee to put in the mug. Some tired, others full of energy, we all headed to the same metro station as before. This time though, instead of a company we would be seeing how Catalonia gets their engineers.
UPC or Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, is the biggest and leading university of technology in Catalonia, as well as the whole country. With some 20 schools and over 30 000 students, UPC ranks highly in international comparisons. It’s unusually high number of doctoral students indicates the fact that the university focuses intensely on research. A statement which is further supported by the fact that the school indeed produces plenty of research papers in many fields.
Once we made our way to the campus, an oddly familiar looking buildings greeted us. Indeed, Campus Nord of UPC contained a plenty of dark red brick buildings. While similar, this particular shade was not quite the same as the one we love, some were quick to point out. Alas, we headed inside one of the aforementioned buildings.
We were greeted by some faculty staff and shown our way to a lecture hall. Here, the dean of the school of Civil Engineering introduced himself to us and wanted to share some information about the school. “Misleading!”, he swiftly pointed out. Apparently, the school gets its name from a tradition from sometime in the 1800’s, and the School of Civil Engineering has only little to do with actual civil engineering. Huh, what a familiar feeling.
As we listened to the dean with our eyes peeled, he continued on with some numbers and statistics about the school, and then put us under the care of the faculty.
We swiftly scurried between the brick buildings towards our next destination: The maritime engineering research lab. Here we were demonstrated the university’s capability to conduct research in hydrological phenomena, mainly sea waves and related events. Not that it was all serious business; the professor manning the lab explained how he explored the ‘surfing properties of the wave simulator during the slow hours of a dreamy day.
Once we were familiarized with the procedure, it was time to see rest of the campus. The area was what you’d expect from a modern university: flashy architecture, student restaurants and, of course, ducks. The history of the region was glittered with buildings of ancient aristocrats and royalty, which gave the campus a unique flair.
When the tour drew to a close, our group shared smirks, the kinds that juveniles share when they see a school day draw to a close. It was beach time! A couple excursionists made haste to the beach to make the most of the free day, whereas some approached the newfound free time with a more leisured attitude and had a calm lunch. By the end of the day though, everyone was found bathing in the sun on Barcelona’s sandy shores.