...constantly searching to find the best travel deals and places to visit. A never-ending quest for adventure!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Hello! We were out the door pretty early this morning and today was to be another long day. Seeing wet pavement meant we had our first real change in weather overnight, and it stayed cloudy and cool for most of the day.

Stop #1 for the morning was the student cooperative, Alecop. They are primarily focused on making industrial tools, along with providing students an intensive hands-on learning experience. The tour of the shop area revealed student work areas and practice tools used to reinforce concepts. There weren't too many students around as it is summer, but we did see a few clock in when we arrived.

The biggest takeaway for me from this location was their emphasis on student assessment - based on transversal competencies, all equaling professional competence.

- technical (know how)
- methodological (know how to do it)
- participative (know how to act)
- personal (know how to behave)

Some are also focused on social competencies - decision making, teamwork, vision, problem solving. Could this be applied successfully to groups or organizations outside of a cooperative environment? What would it take to have it be considered?

Leaving Alecop we returned to the Otalora (castle) for more seminar sessions, our first from Mudukide. This is a foundation focused on productive projects in developing countries (they are not a co-op), namely in Mozambique, South America, and Cuba. It's exciting to see Mondragon branching out to help others, despite the economic downturn. But it was sad to hear they have access issues for most developing countries that could really use the infrastructure assistance.

Lunch could not come soon enough - our meeting room was so warm that it was getting hard to make it through (yes, even for me). They opened a window for a time before our afternoon sessions started, but then promptly closed it as they started. For lunch I had a tasty vegetable soup with spinach, carrots, and peas in a broth. The main course was a broiled piece of haddock in a thin oil sauce. And bread. And wine. I'm getting used to the wine at every meal custom. :)

The afternoon session began with a talk from Belen Kortabarria, economist and one of two financial heads of the MCC. She came to speak with us about the inter-cooperation (solidarity) mechanism between each cooperative. There are many rules between the workers and the cooperatives, and she did a great job of explaining how all parts are connected.

Soon after we were back on the bus and on the way for a tour of the Ikerlan technology center, focused on research projects and collaboration between the Basque region and other worldwide partners. They link with places such as Cal-Berkeley and MIT on a variety of technology products and initiatives. I found the information interesting but lacking in depth...it would have been nice to tour and see some of the projects they were working on.

Following that we had individual meetings with David back at the hotel. I've got my paper topic pretty well framed and should be set to write. Post our meetings, Jimmy and I settled for some more tapas and spirits before heading back to see what our group might have planned for the evening. I think the day caught up to most though as everyone has crashed for the night. Guess I'll do the same.

Tomorrow will be our longest day yet.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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