Maria Czepiel wins a National Competition

Ruta Quetzal BBVA 2013

Ruta Quetzal BBVA is a prestigious competition organized by the Spanish Embassy to select one representative for the UK to take part in an expedition of 6 weeks with other students from 55 countries around the world.

Ruta Quetzal BBVA is an “initiatory,” “enlightened” and “scientific” program in which culture and adventure come together. Thanks to this program, in the past 22 years nearly 8,000 young people from Europe, the Americas and countries such as Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines and China have had the opportunity to discover the human, geographic and historical dimensions of other cultures.

But the Ruta Quetzal BBVA is above all a formative experience in which participants, in addition to gaining knowledge, develop a spirit of international cooperation, with the aim of creating a new and more genuine set of values going beyond wealth and poverty.

We are proud of Maria’s achievement
After a rigorous selection process, expedition members are chosen from the best students in each country. In the UK only 20 students are selected each year to take part in a series of tests to prove their competence in the Spanish language, knowledge of culture and their ability to work with other people. As a result of this process only one student is selected to represent the UK and this year the winner is Maria Czepiel.

The Expedition: From the Darién Forest to Carlos V’s Europe

Ruta Quetzalt is  a journey of learning in which members deepen their historic knowledge and relive the period of great geographic discoveries.

During the trip, those taking part will travel to Panama to commemorate the fifth centenary of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Núñez de Balboa. In Europe they will experience the Renaissance environment that contributed significantly to the American adventure and visit some of the landmarks linked to the court of Charles V in Spain and Belgium.

The Route begins in Panama City in mid-June and crosses the isthmus by the Canal before travelling up the Membrillo river and following in the steps of Núñez de Balboa through what is now the Darién National Park, until it arrives at the South Sea.

Following its stay in Panama, the expedition will cross the Atlantic to be received in Madrid by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain. After visiting various landmarks linked to the adventure of Núñez de Balboa and the court of Charles V in Extremadura and Madrid, the members of the expedition will move on to Belgium to get to know the land where the Emperor was born and visit some of the most important institutions in the European Union.

This journey that will take place approximately from June 18 to July 28 2012. The grant, valued at £10,000, covers all expenses except the trip from the UK to Madrid and the necessary medical reports.

Its importance

Ruta Quetzal BBVA cultural program has been deemed to be of “Universal Interest” by Unesco since 1990, and has carried out a range of activities in recent years. At the same time, the governments of the countries involved in the expeditions have declared it to be of “National Interest.”

Ruta Quetzal BBVA is a program under the auspices of Spain’s Secretary of State for International Cooperation and Ibero-America at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

The academic study program provided during expeditions is coordinated by the Madrid Complutense University in conjunction with universities in the Ibero-American countries that host each expedition.

The sports program, coordinated by the National Sports Council, has allowed young participants on the expedition to practice a range of sports taught by Olympic athletes.

The Royal Spanish Mint has supported the Ruta Quetzal BBVA since 1990 by producing commemorative coins which are presented to the different people and institutions visited by young expedition members.  It has minted more than 80 different coins.

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