Aina is originally from Barcelona (Spain). Since 2018, she is a PhD student in Helsinki University (Finland). Biologist by training, she has always been interested in education and worked as a teacher for two years. Currently, Aina’s PhD topic put together her two passions: education and biology, and she is researching on the topic of environmental education, focus on Madagascar. Aina is particularly interested to understand which are the long-term impacts of education programs. 

Aina and her research team returning from one expedition in a village near Ranomafana National Park
(from left to right: Matthieu, Nirina, Marketta, Maria and Aina)

More about Aina…

ExploH – What motivates you in your work?

Being a scientist means that you will never get bored, as every day there are a million things to learn. Also, you are part of a community where you meet unique people that are committed to make of this world a better place. 

ExploH – What do you like the most in your job?

Thanks to my job I have been working in Madagascar, and that has offered me many opportunities to learn  a different culture, taste delicious food, see amazing wildlife, meet new people, and explore different ways to smile, to love, to talk,… and, of course, be part of ExplorerHome!

ExploH – Can you tell us an anecdote that marked you most in your work?

I think that almost every day I spend in Madagascar has a good anecdote to tell,… One that comes to my mind now: 

We were conducting a project in a rural area of Madagascar (near Fianarantsoa). The project had many different steps, where we were organizing workshops with different people. The last part of the project was to do a final workshop, where we would present the results of the project and discuss with all the participants. 

The night before that final workshop I couldn’t sleep. I was excited – and nervous. Hoping that everything would work fine. At 5am I woke up with the sound of the rain: there was a huge storm outside. And I started to panic: some of the participants were coming from a village that was 4 hours by walk. How would they come if there was a storm?

We met for breakfast with the team. The storm had not stopped. We decided to put all the material inside plastic bags to bring it until the place of the workshop, to avoid the rain to ruin everything. And we started preparing the room, thinking that probably no one would come in that weather,… 

The starting time arrived and, incredibly, everyone was there! Even the people that had to walk during 4 hours to get there. You can imagine our happiness at that moment…

ExploH – What is your leitmotiv as a researcher?

« Seeing The World Through The Eyes Of A Child » 

As a scientist, it is important to be curious, to look around and question what you see. And children are the best teachers for that. 

ExploH – If you were an animal/plant/or work of art, what will you be? why?

Maybe the Indri. In 2018, I was walking in a forest near Andasibe, and suddenly they started their distinctive songs – the emotion that I felt at that moment is inexplicable. 

From the Indri, I like that is a social animal. I really appreciate having around my beloved ones. 

Also, Indris have never been able to reproduce in captivity, which inspires me a feeling of freedom. And, the fact that they can be very loud. Sometimes I am very loud too… 

ExploH – What do you find the most challenging in your work?

You need to have a lot of patience, and capacity of improvisation. Things never turn out the way you planned, so you always need to be ready to be flexible and find solutions. 

Also, the fact that sometimes you spend a long time away from your family and friends.

ExploH – If you weren’t an educator, what you would like to be?

When I was young, I wanted to be a wedding planner. It must be a lot of fun!   

ExploH – Who is your role model?

My two grandmothers. Even if they are more than 90 years old, they still always receive me with a smile, and have a good advice ready for me! 

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