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Last year there was a lot of fuss about the Bologna Process. I confess that I did not spend too much time on it, and I came from a different educational system and I did not see anything objectionable about the idea. In fact, I see it as beneficial to the students, both their learning process and their mobility. I understand that their protest had more to do with the local educational system than the Bologna Process, an old grudge that jumped at the opportunity to manifest itself.

I will leave the debate of ideas. I am more interested in anecdotes and what really happens on the “physical” level. The students occupied some buildings and at some point, some violence was involved. I myself passed by the University of Barcelona at Gran Vía, a beautiful place, the entrance hall was decorated with statues of Luis Vives, Alfonso el Sabio, Isidoro, etc. It was one of the camping sites of the students. It acquired a musty smell which was not incongruous with the age of the building. There were sofas and chairs, which I assume was the platform where the students debated their ideology and what university was supposed to be, the very idea of knowledge and the community of scholars. At the entrance, beside the first column, was a recycle bin, full to the brim, with Estrella Damn bottles. I do agree that alcohol does help with increasing one’s eloquence, especially if your audience is under the effect of the same substance. I do not want to go on describing upstairs, the actual sleeping spot and cooking place, with unwashed dishes and murky water and tents that leant on paintings, loans from Prado.

I mentioned anecdote, and here I will record one.

One professor observed that his son was going to join a march against the Bologna Process and, anxious to know more about their objections, he asked what his son’s understanding of the proposed changes was. And his son replied: “Well, it’s something about Bolivia, no?”

Since then, I looked with reservation the impressive turnout at the demonstrations.

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