So there I was at Heathrow airport, for the first time in my life thousands of miles away from my country, with no parents or teachers, just me and my best friend. I was standing in London and still couldn’t believe it. “How did we end up here?” was the only question on my mind. During the pandemic, we created a prototype to avoid doing a biology project, we ended up participating at “ExpoCiencias”, which allowed us to attend LIYSF. It’s funny how some things turn around.
It’s been a couple of months since then, and sometimes I still can’t believe I had the most amazing two weeks of my life! And I’m not exaggerating. Every single moment I lived was extraordinary, from my roommates getting to the room and waking me up with their laughter on day one, to saying goodbye to everyone on the last night we spent together.
LIYSF is not like any other forum. It’s not just about sitting in a chair and listening to someone talk about some research. I liked every single lecture we had. It was where I got to learn about the most interesting works in many different science areas, from fusion energy to public health to space telescopes and even ethical guidance for science.
One of the main reasons I attended was because of The Science Forum Bazar, where the participants show their projects. I had the chance to present mine and listen to some others. I enjoyed watching people who were interested in what the participants had to say and watching the participants talk proudly about their projects. That reminded me that there are people out there doing amazing stuff to change the world.
As I said, it is not all about science. “Where are you from?” was the question I heard the most during the whole trip, but I don’t blame anyone, it was the perfect question to start a conversation and get to make friends. Personally, meeting people was the best part of all. Getting to know different cultures from all around the world is really exciting. I remember being nervous about not being able to make friends, but every single person that goes to LIYSF is open to sharing all about their country, culture, and themselves. I mean, one day I was afraid of being alone the whole trip, and the next one I was eating brigadeiro in the kitchen with my Brazilian friends.
During the two weeks, I was able to visit different parts of London. My favourite ones were the Wetland Center and the Oxford University Museum of Natural Science. I’m studying Veterinary so being at and learning about the environment and the animals was something I loved. But also places like Salisbury or even around the Imperial College have a lot to show, I mean it is London just think about the architecture.
Now that I think back then I have so many memories, that I will appreciate for the rest of my life. Like singing “Cielito Lindo” in front of everyone with my Mexican friends, spending time at the park talking about life with my friends from Germany, trying to understand Portuguese when the guys from Brazil used to forget that I don’t speak Portuguese (but answering them, because is very similar to Spanish), the sports day session (everyone knows the blue team is the real winners), or just having fun conversations with the staff members, having dinner with everyone or as simple as walking down the street.
I have to thank LIYSF for making me realize that what I am doing with my life is what I want to keep doing for the rest of it. I want to keep in the science area, I want to keep doing investigations, I want to keep visiting other countries, and I definitely want to keep making friends from all around the world.
-Karla Paola Enciso Zafra