The Jon Bilbao Basque Library recently welcomed a new intern, Irati Urkitza, who has arrived from Getxo (Bizkaia), a town neighboring Bilbao on the coast. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and a Master’s in Teacher Training from the University of the Basque Country, giving her the qualifications to teach high school philosophy. We took a moment to interview Irati so that we could introduce her to you, our readers. We look forward to having her around here at the center and library, as she is a welcome addition to our little community.
What brings you to the Center for Basque Studies and how long will you be here?
I am here on a grant called Global Training, which is given by the Basque Government, and I will stay here for six months, until July.
Tell me a bit about the Global Training program.
Every year some Basque organizations and entities, with the help of the Basque government, offer several internship programs in foreign companies. The aim of these programs is to give the intern an opportunity to get some work experience abroad and then to come back and somehow enrich the Basque Country in their new jobs.
How did you learn about the Center for Basque Studies and its Basque library?
While I was reading the list that the University of the Basque Country offered for the Global Training program, I saw the name of the Jon Bilbao Basque Library. It immediately caught my attention and I researched a little bit about it. I found it really interesting and I decided that it was the place that I wanted to go.
What are you working on at the Jon Bilbao Basque Library?
I will be mainly working in the archives with Iñaki Arrieta and Shannon Sisco. We want to transfer all the information about the Basque collection to a new management system that will improve the access to them, so anyone from the main library can have access to the information in the archives.
What are your interests and hobbies?
I have various interests, but most of them are related to social and cultural issues. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching films and TV shows, and taking walks or hiking.
Are you enjoying the U.S.?
Yes, although it is cold and dry, I am having a very good time here.
What are you looking forward to in your stay here in Reno and in the United States in general?
I am willing to learn more about American culture and about the Basques in the States. I would like to travel around to visit some other important places for the Basque diaspora and, certainly, I would love to travel to the wonderful National Parks you have here.
What have you missed the most since you’ve been here?
I have only been here for a week, so I haven’t had enough time to miss lots of things, but I believe that what I will miss the most will be my boyfriend, family and friends, and, of course, the food and the sea!