Francisco Jose Mora Casalles: “People are really nice and welcoming”
Francisco Jose (known as Paco) recently completed a double bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science. He is about to embark on his master’s programme at his home university, the University of Murcia in Spain. In the interim between these academic pursuits, Paco journeyed to Linnaeus University, and he recounts his motivation, saying, “I wanted to go abroad and was looking for somewhere to go. My supervisor knew a researcher here, so he contacted me.”
Paco is currently interning in a project supported by the research council Forte, focusing on forecasting drug-related risks and complications. This project is led by Associate Professor Tora Hammar and is linked to LNUC Data Intensive Sciences and Applications (DISA).
When asked about his role in the project, Paco elaborates, “My main work has been to explore and prepare the data to make it suitable for a machine learning model that actually learns to predict whether a patient could suffer from a medical condition as a result of taking multiple drugs. I have also been working on methods to visualise the data we have, which can help create better solutions for our problem.”
With just a few weeks remaining in his internship, Paco reflects on his experience in Sweden: “At first it was quite confusing, but people are really nice and welcoming, and the weather hasn’t been too bad,” Paco says with a laugh. “People really scared me before I came here.”
When Paco talked to other trainees, he initially felt slightly worried as many of them struggled to find accommodation. But luckily, this wasn't the case for him: “Diana sent me some links to different short-term accommodations, and that made it very easy. I live at Skäraton near the campus, and it seems that almost everyone I talk to has lived there at some point when they came to Växjö. There are also direct flights between Alicante and Växjö, so it was very easy to travel here.”
Diana Unander is a research and project coordinator at the Department of Computer Science and Media Technology. She has been one of Paco’s contact persons and tells us more about the international cooperation between the researchers.
She emphasises: “What is particularly good for Paco is that he is directly linked to an ongoing project. His Spanish supervisor has previously worked with Tora in connection with EUniWell, so they knew he would be perfect for what the project needed.”
Diana encourages more individuals to explore similar opportunities, stating, “For two months, Paco is a 100 percent additional resource in a designated project. This is a very good way to strengthen cooperation between researchers and cooperation within EUniWell. It also gives trainees and PhD students the opportunity to contribute through real work in hands-on projects. This kind of contact between researchers enables a deeper collaboration, and it creates great value for the trainee as well.”
However, Diana also acknowledges the potential loneliness that trainees may face when relocating to a foreign country without any existing connections. As supervisor she aims to combat this by actively engaging in the social aspects of trainees’ lives: “We have done many social activities, for example we have had cooking evenings and after work activities. We have also tried to broaden some of Paco’s perspectives,” laughs Diana. ”It has been great to have him here.”
Paco’s list of new experiences in Sweden includes attending a doctoral dissertation, mastering new recipes in the kitchen, and watching an ice hockey game for the first time. He has also explored cities like Malmö and Stockholm. Reflecting on his journey, Paco remarks, “Yes, it has been a lot of new experiences and great fun. One of my favourite things here has been meeting new people from many different countries and cultures.”
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