David Forero is currently a researcher in the think tank Fedesarrollo (Fundación para la Educación Superior y el Desarrollo). As a doctoral student in Economic History at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, he visited the University of Cape Town in South Africa in 2022.
He says: “I think the Erasmus mobility program gave me an amazing experience to get to know other cultures. It was such a rich period in my time, where I learned not only about African and South African cultures, but the way that research in economic history is done in other contexts, and also about the history of industrialization, my thesis topic, from the African perspective.
Academically, I found that there are few cooperation strategies between the academic community of African and Latin American universities, which might be a wasted opportunity for a South-South cooperation. During my stay I attended several events organized by Prof. Alvaro de la Cruz-Dombriz, Senior Lecturer at Mathematics – Department of the University of Cape Town, President and founder of the Association of Spanish Researcher in Southern Africa (Consorcio RAICEX), and facilitator of A4U Erasmus programme in South Africa, which enriched the whole experience and made me know other scholars with similar interests. Outside the academic context, I was able to know a little about the South African wildlife and Cape Town music scenario, both of them were amazing and a whole new dimension of my experience in the doctoral stay. I feel very thankful for having the opportunity to live those experiences.
I would definitely recommend considering the Erasmus+ exchange program. It is an opportunity to know very different cultures from the European perspective, and the opportunity to expand the social and research capital of students might have beneficial consequences in the future. If any student has the opportunity to make this academic exchange, I would tell him not to let it pass.”