My name is Jaume Alonso and I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Mathematics. I work in dynamical systems: my goal is to understand how things change with time. I’m born and raised in Barcelona, but during my studies I have also lived in Germany, Sweden and now Belgium. I came to Antwerp to do my PhD, which I successfully defended a few months ago, and now I am staying in town for at least one more year continuing my research.

I arrived in Antwerp 4.5 years ago and so far my experience in the Koekenstad, and Belgium in general, has been very positive. I appreciate many characteristics of the local culture, such as the taste for gastronomy, the work-life balance or the ability to negotiate agreements and always find a middle point. I think Antwerp is also interesting as a city, not only because of its history and architecture, but also due to its size. It is big enough to be relatively dynamical and diverse, with new businesses, shops and restaurants opening regularly, while at the same time all corners of the city remain accessible by bike within a reasonable amount of time.

Another thing I enjoy about Antwerp is that one can find different districts and each one has a distinct personality. Compare, for example, the big groups of tourists in the city centre with the elegance of the streets of ‘t Zuid and the more relaxed vibe of Zurenborg, one of my favourite spots in Antwerp. The city offers many possibilities for future MONDO activities, such as a boat tour through the port or an alternative city tour focusing on important figures of the city’s past, such as Gilbert van Schoonbeke, Christoffel Plantijn or Jan Moretus.

So far I have joined three MONDO activities: the kick-off event, the Christmas market and the visit to the Havenhuis (see picture). Possibly this last one was the most impressive one for me, since I had walked many times past the building but I had never had the chance to visit the inside. In general I think MONDO is a great space to meet new people in the city and enjoy an internationally-minded atmosphere, where conversations include references to the whole world. Don’t hesitate and join the next activity!