Carolina Hayes: “Studying humanities helps you see the world in constant wonder”

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We talked to her about her experience at the Faculty, her exchange and her personal and professional aspirations. 

Carolina Hayes: “Studying humanities helps you see the world in constant wonder”

Carolina Hayes came to Barcelona when she was 15 years old. With an American dad and a Spanish mum, she studied humanities at UIC Barcelona. In November she finished from the University of Edinburgh with an MSc in Modern & Contemporary Art: History, Curating & Criticism and she is now working towards her PhD in Spain. We talked to her about her experience at the Faculty, her exchange and her personal and professional aspirations. 

1. You started studying history of art but then decided to switch universities and your studies and started studying humanities at UIC Barcelona. What made you want to come to UIC Barcelona?
I liked the welcoming and friendly environment, open to all types of beliefs and ideologies.  I also liked the fact that you had teachers who took an interest in what you were doing and that you saw that they took their time to help you grow both personally and professionally. Then, of course, there were the people in my year group, like myself, who were inquisitive and interested in improving our world through culture. 

2. How would you describe your experience at the Faculty?
It has been an experience of profound growth and huge changes on a personal level.   

3. Which subjects really stick with you?
I have two. Ethics in second year and Aesthetics in third year. They really changed my way of viewing and thinking about the world. 

4. What would you say to someone who has doubts about the opportunities open to humanities graduates?
It’s normal to have doubts. Perhaps their parents or friends tell them that there are steady job opportunities in well-paid companies once you graduate or even beforehand. In humanities, it is certainly true that you have to work that bit harder and make that bit more effort, but if you are passionate about books, art, philosophy, history and it’s not just a hobby or a pastime for you, you will be successful and will make the most of all the opportunities open to you. But fear not – you are going to be popular amongst galleries, auction houses, cultural or patronage foundations, banks with their own art collections, international institutions, NGOs, publishers, cultural magazines, historical archives and libraries, tourism and travel companies, educational centres, newspapers, communication companies (for radio and television), theatres, event and exhibition management companies, community centres, etc. There is work. And it’s well-paid!  

5. How is humanities important in your day-to-day life?
It’s a way to live life differently in that you live in constant wonder of the world and search for the truth. 

6.And what about professionally?
Knowing about how human thought has evolved over history is the only way that we can understand the world we live in today. Being trained in this, and having gained in-depth knowledge of it over four years, only further consolidates your foundations in an area in which many companies are lacking: people with good ideas, critical thinking skills, enthusiasm, the ability to reflect, debate and negotiate.

7. Your final degree project was a bit special. Tell us about it...
It was a lot of fun! One of my relatives told me about a Spanish-Argentinian painter who was virtually unknown and who never decided to sell or exhibit his paintings. He worked in the post office while he taught night classes in painting until he retired and opened his own school. After he died, his students opened a foundation based on his principles of education.  This foundation is in Buenos Aires and I wanted to go on exchange there. I found an agreement with a university in Montevideo and at the end of my stay there, I went to visit the foundation to talk to some of his former students. I am now in the process of editing the document to send it to them. I’m excited to give it to them! 

8. What did you like most about the experience?
It was the first time I stayed by myself for two nights in accommodation to carry out the interview for my final degree project and this made me realise that research in humanities is a job in its own right. It sprouts from one of your own ideas and you see how that seed starts to grow little by little until it develops into a small tree with a number of branches of knowledge. 

9. Beyond living in another country and discovering a different culture, why do you think it is important to take part in Erasmus+ or an exchange?
Because you make contacts and because companies see that you’re an inquisitive person and on the ball. It’s also important because you get to know other ways of working and other educational models; you see the world. I don’t know... There are millions of reasons. The most interesting thing is that no matter how much you try to explain your experience to other people, it’s something only you can live for yourself. 

10.If you could choose the job of your dreams, what would it be?
Being a research lecturer and an art critic. 

11.Why would you recommend studying humanities at UIC Barcelona?
Because you are given a good skill set to go into the cultural sphere. The teachers are always there for you. The Faculty organises cultural workshops, outings, trips and conferences you can take part in on a regular basis.  The classes are rewarding and the university has strong humanistic values. You are taught to be more of a person, but overall, to be more yourself.