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The development rural, 'in the hands' of the university students.


08 | 09 | 2023


University students have carried out internships in 20 different towns in Navarre thanks to the "Revitalizing Rural Heritage" program.

University students often take advantage of the summer to carry out professional internships. Since March, especially during the summer season, 33 students from the University have decided to train in 20 towns in Navarra. This has been possible thanks to the project "Revitalizing Rural Heritage", result of the agreement between our University, the General Administration of Local Administration and Depopulation of the Government of Navarra and the La Caixa Foundation, the entity that finances the program.

"The initiative arises as a response to the serious problems related to depopulation and loss of social and economic vitality suffered by large areas of the territory of Navarre and the goal pursued is to reverse - or at least mitigate - the effects it has on the natural, cultural and social heritage of our land," explains Juanjo Pons, promoter of project and Senior Associate Professor of Geography and Land Management of the School of Philosophy and Letters.

The students belong to seven different Schools and study Degrees as History, Journalism, International Office, Pedagogy, Teaching, Biology and management Applied. Several of them have been able to fill in more than one internship in different entities and companies, both public and private, such as city councils, foundations, associations and museums. In total, they have completed 40 internships in which they have been able to get involved with the local population, make the institutions and their needs visible and apply and deepen what they have learned at classroom.

"It is very important that young university students (in many cases urbanites) get to know the rural environment first hand and live with its inhabitants. In addition, they contribute their knowledge, their talent and their enthusiasm helping in tasks that different public and private entities rooted in the territory have detected as needs for the villages. Who knows if, through this 'immersive' experience, future job opportunities and repopulating vocations for these environments will emerge," says Juanjo Pons.

"Who knows if, through this 'immersive' experience, future job opportunities and repopulating vocations for these environments will emerge."

Back to the roots

In her first university summer, Iria Rodríguez Ezpeleta, a student of Biochemistry with the Science Business Program, has done an internship at ICARRA association for the Conservation of Gallipienzo. This is an institution created by its neighbors in 1979 in order to preserve the infrastructure and report of the village and maintain unity among its inhabitants. Iria's family is a native of the municipality and she has spent summers running through its streets. "Gallipienzo has seen me grow up and now I want to help it grow in this time of depopulation. A program that seeks to preserve Navarra deserves all the attention it can get," she says.

In the picture

Iria Rodríguez (second from the left), together with family members and neighbors of the town.

Paula Erro Alzueta, a 2nd year nursing student, has completed her summer internship at the San Vicente de Paúl de Sangüesa Municipal residency program San Vicente de Paúl de Sangüesa Municipal Hospital. She finds the program a good opportunity, especially for those who are starting their professional degree program . She considers it an advantage to work in rural environments because of the proximity to its inhabitants. "This sense of community allows for a more real immersion in the local culture. Living this experience could result in a deeper connection to the work environment," Paula comments. 

In the picture

Paula Erro, a nursing student at the San Vicente de Paúl de Sangüesa residency program San Vicente de Paúl de Sangüesa Municipal School.

Javier Munilla Antoñanzas, 4th year History student with the Diploma in Archaeology, has done his summer internship in the parishes of Lerín and Dicastillo, places where they house great historical-artistic heritage and populations studied by previous historians. Among other tasks, she was in charge of the organization and promotion of guided tours to the parishes to make known and value the heritage they house both neighbors of the municipalities themselves and tourists. "In the field more staff, the experience has allowed me to know and delve into the art of Navarre, which is proving very useful for my academic training to discover how different artists from different eras left their mark on the area average of Navarre," he reflects.

Lucía Alonso Antón, a 4th year student of Degree in management Applied, has completed her summer internship at a larger business . This is Gurit Falces, a producer of windmill blade cores for organizations such as Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. "These experiences help you understand how a real business works, reinforce the knowledge acquired at classroom and build a network of professional contacts," he says. "This program gives visibility to large companies that are located in small towns. It also financial aid young people to develop their talent in real environments taking into account the sustainable use of natural ecosystems," he adds.

In the picture

On the left, Javier Munilla in the parish of Dicastillo; on the right, Lucía Alonso, who has done an internship at business Gurit Falces.

Javier Martínez Sarasate, who has started this year the Master's Degree University in academic staff of E.S.O. and high school diploma, F.P. and teaching of Languages, has made practices in the City Council of Eslava. He has helped in the dynamization of the heritage as guide of the archaeological site of Santa Criz de Eslava.

"It is a program with which students from different Degrees can contribute 'our grain of sand' to help the revitalization of villages in the area."

"Having studied History at graduate with the Diploma in Archaeology, it has helped me to better understand the history of a Roman city in Navarra. In addition, I have improved my way of expressing myself, which will be of great help financial aid for the realization of Master's Degree. It is a program with which students from different Degrees can contribute 'our grain of sand' to help the revitalization of villages in the area," says Javier.

In the picture

Javier Martínez has collaborated as guide in the archaeological site of Santa Criz de Eslava.

Saioa Moreno Capilla, 2nd year student of Degree in management Applied, has carried out her summer internship in Libros con Historia, a bookshop of antique books located in Urroz. This, together with two other bookstores in the town, form "Urroz Villa del Libro". During the course of this internship, she developed a guide of management of the bookshop and helped with the organization of activities and events for promote "bibliotourism". Saioa stresses the importance of doing internships to broaden her knowledge and skills, as well as to get to know and develop herself professionally. In order to obtain this internship, she not only contacted apply for to obtain the offer, but also personally called business to ask them to consider her candidacy. And, in fact, this action was decisive in her being chosen for the position. "The university provides us with many opportunities, but you also have to show initiative," Saioa advises.

In the picture

Saioa Moreno at bookshop Books with History