When I first discovered LIYSF, I couldn’t imagine how life-changing and eye-opening this program was going to be. I had won a scholarship for a three-year-scientific program called Youth and Science from the Catalunya-La Pedrera foundation where we had the opportunity to do some research in local scientific centres and participate in international programs. I applied for LIYSF in my third year and I was very grateful when it was announced that I had been given a place there. I was really excited not only about the scheduled lectures and visiting prestigious research centres but also about the possibility of getting to know people from different countries in a rich multicultural atmosphere.
These two weeks in London have been intense and rewarding. For a start, I discovered a magnificent city, full of remarkable buildings like Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and the National History Museum and Science Museum, amongst others. I was so fortunate to be surrounded by young students with whom I shared the same values and interests, and enjoyed learning from knowledgeable scientists and researchers.
What I really appreciated in the forum was the fact that we were treated like adults with a sense of freedom and full responsibility. We were allowed to design our schedule of lectures, activities and optional trips according to our interests and preferences. We were able to share knowledge with other participants in a creative atmosphere and plenty of time to socialise and interact. The participants are the best gift LIYSF could have ever given to us. Open minded people, caring and amazed by the beauty of science, with lots of positive energy and eager to make a difference in the world.
It was at LIYSF where I was able to overcome my personal fears. I have definitely grown up a lot as a person during these days being opened to new challenges and new perspectives. For example, I was encouraged to perform a rap in front of about five hundred people from 67 different nationalities, did a traditional dance with some friends and presented a poster at the Science Bazaar about my research project: sea urchins and climate change.
A few years ago I came across a phrase by Donald Hebb, a psychologist specialized in learning, who once said: “Neurons that fire together, wire together”. This phrase, which summarises the Hebbian theory, means that the value of a synapsis connection increases if both Neurons of the synapsis are activated simultaneously a lot of times. If we extrapolate this meaning to the human scale, we could say that we can certainly improve ourselves by creating synergies with international friendships and collaborations, human bonds. And LIYSF makes it real.
LIYSF is a holistic experience in which you learn about science, other cultures and also about yourself. A magnificent opportunity to “spread out” your horizons and lengthen your own limits, to learn about everything you want to know about, and to make enriching international friendships. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone. Thanks very much to everyone who makes this whole event possible. LIYSF 2017 has been the best experience in my life.