COLCHIS COLIaborative CHannel Integrated System

ESR 13 – Rabia Rashdi

Civil works, operation and maintenance of urban infrastructure | INSITU and University of Vigo | Spain

I am Rabia Rashdi and I am from Pakistan. I have done my Bachelors in Electronic Engineering and Masters in Mechatronics Engineering, both from Mehran University of Engineering & Technology, Pakistan. Currently, I am an Early-Stage researcher (ESR 13) in MENELAOSNT project, enrolled as a doctoral student at the University of Vigo, Spain. My PhD topic is Civil works, operation and maintenance of urban infrastructure.

Moving to a new city or a country is always hard and exciting at the same time. But the experience is the adventure of your lifetime. Vigo is a small city in Galicia, Spain, which is surrounded by hills and is best known for its beautiful beaches. Unfortunately, due to COVID situation, I haven’t been able to explore the beautiful Galicia!! The weather pattern in Vigo is different from other cities of Spain like Madrid or Barcelona, rainy and windy almost everyday!! The unpredictable weather is what makes Vigo, well… a typical Galician weather. Even the umbrellas are useless in this weather sometimes (my two umbrellas are already broken, thanks to the wind).

When I first arrived here, I did not face any problems regarding the accommodation. Everything was already arranged by my supervisors. They helped me with everything from accommodation to enrolment procedure. I live in the university campus which is 15 km away from the city center. I have been provided full support and proper assistance from my supervisors. I have a weekly meeting with my supervisors where I discuss my research progress. Also, people in my lab are very polite and nice, they are always there to help.

The most common problem that international people face in Vigo, is LANGUAGE!! Very few people here understand English. I am currently taking online Spanish language classes and maybe soon at the end of February I will start to take classes face to face in the university.

When it comes to dining, it’s hard for us (Muslims) to dine out in restaurants. There are no halal restaurants. So, I always end up eating fish. The seafood is best here in Vigo. However, there are few döner kebab shops and several halal meat markets, where you can get halal chicken and meat.

You will find small cafes everywhere and they are quite reasonable. Café con leche (coffee with milk) and churros are very popular here and of course my favorite too!!

My overall experience has been good so far. Let’s hope the COVID situation gets better soon and I would get the chance to explore the mesmerizing sites of Spain.