Written by Alexandra Veverka
This week I have continued to enjoy my lifestyle here in Valencia. I met many more people and begun many more projects for further research in plant science.
In my work, I have become a more experienced student in identifying pests such as aphids and thrips, after weeks in the lab looking under the microscope and searching books to identify the species. Learning to do this, and do it carefully and correctly, has been like learning a new language, along with Spanish! I have loved the opportunity to become a better problem solver when it comes to identifying what can be improved upon with tests, and my amazing professor and team has encouraged me in many ways to be more creative. I have access to assist in different projects such as analyzing the efficiency of pesticides, and have been learning new tools such as software that will allow me to create more professional displays of data. With this new knowledge and practice, I hope to soon begin my own research project to present at the end of my internship.
Outside of work this week, I have met more friends and fallen in love with the opportunity to be a part of this community. Most places I go, there are few English speakers, but I have been surprised with the English speakers I have met. They are much more confident in their English and much more comfortable to try than I have ever been. I often know Spanish phrases and what I want to say, but when it comes to actually speaking, it can seem a bit daunting because I know my Spanish is not perfect. The genuine desire that Valencia has to understand more and to communicate with me has given me more passion for understanding their predominant language better and inspired me to not be so scared to mess up, but to jump right in and try my best.