It’s difficult for me to synthesize all the experiences that I have been through in a few words. I can start with what I think is the easiest and the first reason we applied here; research. From that point of view, I was lucky to be within a great team at The University of Shiga Prefecture, especially in the Metamaterial group. The conducted research was very interesting, and I have learned a lot from the Professor and the other members of the team. The opportunity to work in a different context, with different visions of how to proceed to solve different problems, has given me new tools when facing new research problems. On the other hand, it was a very enriching experience to be part of the weekly group meetings, where I had the opportunity to give my opinion and be heard as one of the team and where new research ideas were born. In addition, I was honored to be entitled as a visiting professor at the University, which is something that really bonds the research teams and institutions into a long-term relationship. Finally, we are happy that new research funds have been acquired on the Chilean side, which will allow us to continue this very fruitful cooperation between both institutions and researchers.
Now about life in Japan, well, I think that all the good things they tell you before coming are true. It was my first time in Asia too, and to meet this new culture and learn about their history was breathtaking. The temples, shrines, museums, festivities, food, colors (autumn is beautiful here!), and the people have definitely opened a new perspective for me on many life situations. Being here, you can see a culture that has thousands of years, from which we can learn many things. I had the chance to live in a relatively small city called Hikone which is famous for a castle and Hikonyan, a mascot, and also to travel a lot and see the diversity of this beautiful country. Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka, Nara, Kobe, Kamakura, Kanazawa, Nagoya, Yokohama, Fukuoka, and Hiroshima were some of the cities I visited. All of them have different remarkable things to see and stories to tell. One thing to highlight was my visit to Hiroshima, which I think every scientist has to visit once in a lifetime. Finally, I had the opportunity to make new good friends, where we could share a lot of things that we have in common and also learn from each other in our differences.
In brief, I would like to thank the Matsumae International Foundation and its whole team that made this possible. As a fellow, I always felt supported by the foundation in any need or question I had. I think every researcher needs to have opportunities to do research abroad, not only because of a different subject, available equipment, etc. but also because the interaction with new ways of thinking and solving problems will definitely improve us as researchers and human being.
Associate Professor, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso