Youthful reflections on the CIVITAS Summer Course

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Summer course

Image by Teije Gorris

The CIVITAS Summer Course took place from 18 - 21 July 2022, in Rethymno, Greece. Several young professionals joined the course, including Valeria Aranda, who reflects on her experience at the course below:

Increíble! That’s the Spanish word for “amazing”. A colleague told me about the CIVITAS Summer Course in Rethymno that was going to be held in mid-July, so I applied. When I got accepted I thought that it was going to be another “cool course”, one of those you actually like, but it’s just a course. I was totally mistaken!! I enjoyed this course more than I actually think you can enjoy a course on the beach (since no one wants to be working when staying seaside!). The course exceeded my expectations; I enjoyed the lectures, working in teams, the walks, the time spent on data collection, the dinners, the conversations, the food, basically, I enjoyed it all!

The actual content of the course focused on finding solutions to Rethymno’s delivery logistics and high car dependency problems. In teams, we worked to find solutions for one of these two problems. My team and I decided to propose a park & ride in the outskirts of the town which will use the current bus lines coming and going to the city centre, moreover we proposed to create a bike rental scheme managed by the municipality, build two bicycle parking lots and benches that can serve as storage for the restaurants along the principal avenue.

I had a great time working with Peri [Greece], Isobel [England], Ahmet [Turkey] and Ilie [Moldova]. We were a highly diverse group, both in terms of our ages (20s-50s) and our professional backgrounds. I am a PhD Student, whereas my teammates were working for the public and private sectors, academia and for an NGO. I learned a great deal from my groupmates, course mates and from the course coordinators and speakers.  We saw impressive examples of increasing walkability and cycling in cities – we saw what a “fieststraat” is, which blew my mind!

I can say that after this Summer Course I can appreciate more how enriching it is working on diverse teams. I also learned that there can be many suggestions for a single problem but that does not mean that there is only one right and the others are wrong – there can be many solutions. Thanks to the amazing team for organising this great course and thanks to Rethymno Municipality for hosting us all. See you around!

Valeria Aranda

A note about the author: Valeria Aranda grew up in a village in the western part of Mexico. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Urban Mobility at Politecnico di Milano. Her research interests focus specifically on traffic analysis and safety. Still being at the beginning of her professional path, she is excited to see what the future holds!

Rethymno group shot on walking tour

Image by Teije Gorris

Rethymno group shot

Image by Teije Gorris

Author: Valeria Aranda



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