In the last months many new colleagues have become part of our Uniser family. Last time we met Aga, today we’re going to learn more about another member of the Hosting Partners team: we’re talking about Sandra Lorite, who joined Uniser in January of this year.
Hi Sandra! Thanks for finding the time to meet with me and tell us a bit about you. Let’s start easy and discuss a bit what you do here with us.
What’s your role at Uniser?
Sure! My role has always been manager of Erasmus+ projects in general but since January I am focused on the contacts with hosting partners. As a matter of fact, I am now part of the Uniser Hosting Partners team, together with Vik, Eleonora O., Charlotte and Aga. For the moment I am in charge of managing the departures of Spanish groups going to specific partners. In the following months I might be managing groups from other countries as well.
What do you think about your team? Do you get along with your colleagues?
I feel very grateful and happy to be a part of this team. Since the beginning I feel like I have been welcomed really warmly, but I have also been accompanied and tutored during my (still ongoing of course!) learning path here. I know I can rely on my colleagues when I have some questions or doubts or if I need some time, especially Vik who is the coordinator. But of course I don’t forget my colleagues in Barcelona, even if we’re not in the same team they are very precious to me and I consider them really good friends!
Is this your first time in Bologna? What do you think about this city?
Well, I came here some years ago, when I was still a teenager so I can say that this is really my first time, because I don’t remember much about my very first visit. I had the immediate impression that people are very kind and nice and I really felt a warm welcoming in general. During these weeks, I also visited Forlì and Modena, but I would like to visit Ravenna as well, maybe next time! About Forlì, I got the impression that it is a very quiet place but still very nice, whereas Modena is a much bigger city, which I also enjoyed a lot. Well, I also had the chance to explore the aperitivo concept in these cities and I really liked it!
What about the office?
What I love the most about this place is the wide spaces and the plants, which I like a lot. Also we’re very lucky to have a big patio! What caught my eye is the light, the design, the concept in general and I realized that even if we share a big space everyone is respectful of others…let’s say I like the energy here.
What do you mean?
What I mean is that even if we often work with tight deadlines and are in charge of many different tasks, you have the impression that everyone has got it under control. There aren’t any big dramas, all colleagues are in the same situation and are very helpful, you get the feeling that we are capable of doing it, so we are doing it. When you don’t see your team overwhelmed and you act in a balanced and active way, you mirror with them and absorb the positive energy, if you see what I mean. You learn how to relativize any issue or situation and that you cannot let problems control you: there will always be unplanned changes, things coming up and so on, so you have to be ready when they come and be as cool-headed as possible. Actually, I am learning a lot from Vik, even though she’s very young her attitude is remarkable, she always manages not to be too angry or frustrated and to have a positive mindset, believing that any issue can be solved. She has huge emotional control and it is really helpful.
That’s really great to hear! Now I see that there is a question among the ones I sent you that caught your attention, which is: “Is there something you’re proud of?”
Yes, actually there is!
Ok, can you tell me more about it?
Sure. When I was 18 I went on a trip to a Western Sahara refugee camp South of Morocco. I was really young and I was in my first year of university, where I was studying political sciences. One day at the campus I saw a leaflet inviting people to join a journalist expedition to a Sahrawi refugee camp, in the “free territories” territories of Western Sahara. It immediately caught my attention and I decided to go. In the group I was the youngest and I didn’t know anybody; I met my fellow travelers in a sort of pre-departure meeting organized before the trip.
What was the aim of this expedition?
The goal of the expedition was to understand the status of the Western Sahara conflict that started in the 70s and is still ongoing and to document Sahrawi culture and history. This was (and still is) much needed because in my opinion little is being said about this war and we don’t know much about it. Just think that there is a wall built in ‘82, the Moroccan Western Sahara Wall, which still exists and divides an entire region. It was an incredibly tough experience. Most of all, I think it was difficult to see an entire population displaced, who had to flee because of the Moroccan invasion and who is still unable to return to their land.
What did you learn from this experience?
I am grateful for this opportunity because even if it was very difficult, I learned a lot. It taught me to analyze my needs, to be thankful for what I have and to relativize problems. What we did there was mainly interview people to know more about them and we realized that all of them have an incredible story to tell. It’s an experience that really makes a strong impression, even more if, like more, you are still young. There are many things about this trip that I will forever remember but this one is still extremely vivid: we were in the desert and we stopped to visit a nomad camel herder, who was moving around this land with his family and camels. We had a short interview with him and one of my mates (who was 25 years old) in the end asked him if he was happy. It took him only a second to reply: “Yes, I am happy. I just have everything I need, so I am happy”. It really made me question myself and my needs. I will never forget it.
It sounds like a real life-changing trip, an amazing experience, very brave too. Going back to our questions, is there something that you like doing in your free time, for example?
Hmm, let me think… Yes, I have a hobby. Since I was a child, I’ve always loved doing jigsaw puzzles. The last one I did had 3500 pieces, it took me quite a long time to finish it! It was really big, it spreaded all across the living room table! Also it was very difficult to complete, there were a million of similar shades and sometimes I thought about giving up. But in the end it relaxes me so I took my time and finished it: I really find peace while sitting, looking for the perfect match for the next piece. However, I do not hang them once I finish them. Sometimes I just roll them and store them away, sometimes I just break the puzzles and re-do them, but surely I won’t do it with the big one!
Nice! Anything else to add?
Just a small thing. If you come to Barcelona contact me for a free tour of the city! I worked for one year at Gaudi’s Casa Batlló and I happen to know many anecdotes about architecture history and about the city…I will be happy to show you around!
That’s great to hear, we will come soon for sure!