From Erasmus exchange student to SibA degree student: Iván Bragado Poveda

Iván Bragado Poveda is a 21-years-old harpist from Salamanca, a small city situated in Western Spain. He started playing the harp, the instrument of his dreams, when he was eight years old. Iván continued his studies in his home city up until his third year of Bachelor studies, when he decided to do an exchange period abroad via Erasmus.

While Germany was his first option for an exchange institution, Iván says that he was looking for ”something different”, which is why he ended up in Finland. Other Spanish students at Sibelius Academy described it to him as a ”multicultural place where the level of education was amazing”, and his harp teacher, Päivi Severeide, helped him make the decision by describing the musical opportunities in SibA.

”I can describe my exchange period as something I needed to do,” Iván says. On arrival he was not fluent in English and it was his first time travelling abroad alone, but he felt like the people both in and outside of SibA made the situation feel comfortable. ”It is an experience that I would recommend to every student: it is a perfect opportunity to learn a variety of the different ways of thinking and doing things in this world!”

Iván says he has learned how to appreciate the cold and even how to enjoy it, and his favourite part of the Finnish culture is the sauna. The culture is very different to Spanish culture, and even the Finnish orchestral culture stands out to him: ”It is always a pleasure to work with Finnish orchestras, as well with Finnish conductors. They make sure to create a good atmosphere in order to work with the music.” As Iván’s exchange year in SibA was coming to an end, he applied to return as a degree student. ”I found the place perfect to continue with my training as a harpist, as well as develop myself as a person in such a different culture.” And thus, after spending the academic year 2015-2016 in SibA as an exchange student, Iván started his degree studies at SibA this fall. ”I would definitely recommend for people to come to study at SibA and enjoy every minute and every project of it!”

Text: Elsi Vertanen