"I consume less and learnt to make an impact on others."

From our early beginnings, Inés Vicente-Barbero has been part of our journey. She was part of the 2005 scout exchange to Mongolia, helped to found BOOKBRIDGE in 2010, participated in our 10th Capability Program to Cambodia and afterwards stayed there to work as a fellow for one year. If there is one person that has lived everything that BOOKBRIDGE is it is Inés! In this interview, she reveals the impact 15 years of BOOKBRIDGE have had on her life.


Inés, tell us 3 facts that people should know about you!

  • I have studied translation at university, a fact only a few people know because I have been always dedicated to education. I want to mention this because I think that without those years studying translation I would not have met BOOKBRIDGE. Once I finished my studies I realized that I didn’t want to spend 8 hours a day in front of a computer translating texts. So I decided to study social education and this completely changed my career. Until now I have neither regretted studying translation nor changing my career path. Both periods have brought me where I am now and have made me meet many different people that have been important in my life.

  • Another fact that I would like to share is that after 18 years I have come back to live in my hometown. Even if my hometown is San Sebastián in Spain, I feel that part of my home is in many other places where I have lived and/or where I have met very important people in my life that made me feel welcome and opened their homes to me.

  • And the third one is that I have celebrated my last birthday in confinement mode. During the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in my country we have been confined at home until the sanitary emergency ends and my birthday was during those days in which we only could go out from home. So I could not celebrate in a way I would have done it normally but it was very special anyway and it was really nice to receive so many messages and calls from all around the world.

As a fellow, Inés supported SmILe Academy, a school in rural Cambodia, with teaching and educational consulting.


Why did you decide to engage in BOOKBRIDGE?

The last 15 years I’ve been involved with BOOKBRIDGE in different ways. I’ve been co-founder, candidate in the Capability Program and Fellow.

During some periods of time I haven’t been very active but since I started taking part in the Capability Program I have become more involved because I got the opportunity to meet a very nice team that worked in a very committed way to support a social entrepreneur to start his social business.

This social entrepreneur was Kimsorn and we dreamt and worked together with him to make his social enterprise SmILe Academy become true. Then during my year as fellow in Cambodia I could get closer to the work that we had done. What really motivates me to continue being engaged with BOOKBRIDGE is that I have always met people willing to learn and improve.

Inès (left) with the team of the 10th Capability Program.


Which highlight or moment in your work with BOOKBRIDGE do you remember?

I would emphasize a period more than a moment and that would be my fellowship in Cambodia. For one year, I supported three different Cambodian learning centers and it was an experience that made me grow a lot.

Which impact did BOOKBRIDGE have on your private and professional life?

Both in my professional and personal life I am now more conscious about some of my skills related to interpersonal communication in general and also in cross-cultural contexts. In my professional life I think that I have been able to understand the concepts of teamwork and leadership in different ways thanks to BOOKBRIDGE.

Regarding the current lockdown situation I have been more prepared to work from home because at BOOKBRIDGE I learnt to use many different web tools and methodologies.

Personally, after all I my “BOOKBRIDGE years”, I have the strong feeling that we all belong to a big family in the world. This has an impact on my consumption style, how I try to take care of nature and what I put my efforts in. My goal is that my life is having a positive impact on others and on me or at least doesn´t have a big negative impact.

Thank you Inés for sharing your experience and your learnings with us. We are proud that you are part of our BOOKBRIDGE Family!

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