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By THINK Education 5th January 2016

My Greatest Degree on Earth

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My name’s Matt. ​My camera and I explored what the Greatest Degree on Earth might look like. I met with brilliant minds, went behind-the-scenes at some of the world's coolest brands and discovered some amazing places to study. Did I mention I visited 5 continents in 12 days?

Here are a few of my highlights.

DAY 7, MADRID, SPAIN

Nuno came to meet us at our hotel at 9am and we made our way to the bigger Universidad Europea campus. Nuno is the Business Development Director for the Escuela Universitaria Real Madrid (or as we know it, Real Madrid Graduate School) at Universidad Europea.

Nuno explained that the university had two campuses: the one we were seeing today was called Villaviciosa Campus and it is the larger and older campus with many courses offered including physical sciences, physiotherapy, football management and business. It features the gymnasium, football fields, basketball fields and tennis courts.

We wandered past the tennis courts and saw some people playing a sport called Paddle. Paddle is very popular in Spain and has become even more popular than tennis. Nuno explained that it an easier version of tennis and squash combined. The user has a large paddle (kind of like a short stumpy tennis racquet but it's solid and has holes in it). The players hit the ball over the net similar to tennis, but they can also use the walls to bounce the ball back to their opponent, like squash. Spain's president is a big fan and made it famous when he was photographed playing it a few years ago.

DAY 9, LIMA, PERU

We landed in Lima, Peru after a 12 hour flight from Madrid. I was literally running on empty… physically and technologically. We had a 2 hour car journey ahead of us in the direction of the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) campus in Monterrico, Santiago de Surco. On arrival at the campus we met with our two wonderful tour guides for the day: Gloria Mora and Daniela Beltrán.

They took us to store our luggage in their office and then we hopped into a car en route to the other UPC campus Villa. On the way to Villa campus, Gloria and Daniela explained to us that Monterrico is their largest of 4 campuses with 17,000 students and 21 years of history. The Villa campus is much newer campus with a health and science focus and has around 5,000 students. In total UPC has around 38,000 students across 4 campuses in Lima.

The majority of the students at UPC are Peruvian, but a small amount of internationals come from countries such as Mexico and Spain and as far as Sweden. All students must study English to graduate, therefore we had no trouble communicating with the staff and students that we met.

Gloria and Daniela look after Campus Life and International student experience. They have a very cool job and explained to us a concept they have been running successfully for a number of years. Its called Cultural Friday. From 1-3pm every Friday the students have no classes scheduled. During this time the Campus Life team organise sports, workshops, movies, concerts, cooking classes, Latin dance classes, volunteer programs and other social activities. Students must participate in a number of these events each term in order to receive the cultural credits they require to graduate. All students are given a Cultural Passport in which they must collect points. On estimate, students must attend around 20 activities throughout their course. Most of them sound super fun and I think this is an awesome way to get students to interact and have a great social campus life.

We were met by César Pancorvo who looks after university services at Villa campus. Villa campus backs onto the huge mountain ranges of Lima where the shanty town is full of brightly painted colourful houses.

We explored the campus which had some very cool facilities. The campus had very lush green gardens and a large grassy knoll where students were lying or studying in the sun. César explained that the grassy area is where the campus holds concerts and outdoor movies during Cultural Fridays. We explored the large basketball courts, football field, gymnasium and swimming pool. UPC has its own swim squad, basketball team, football teams and other sporting clubs.

César took us to the health building where they had a medical room equipped with many models of body parts, fetuses, and muscle groups. They were very cool and we wanted to go in to play with the models, but the room was locked and could not be accessed.

I was invited to join in a practical nutrition class. One of the students leant me their lab coat and I joined the students mixing liquids in a beaker. We were making soap from what I could tell was some kind of fat, a clear liquid and oranges.

We had to get back to the other campus for some other appointments, so we headed back out to the road to find our driver. We said farewell to César who had been a wonderful tour guide.

Want to read more about my worldwide search for the Greatest Degree on Earth? Jump onto the blog of Torrens University, also part of the Laureate Network of International Universities.


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