A black belt in judo, Juan has been a runner-up in Madrid martial arts competitions for three years in a row.
Juan sits in the back row in French 5.2. He might go unnoticed if it weren’t for his insightful comments in almost perfect French. We became friends during an in-class exercise. Nadia Amrane’s language classes involve a lot of moving around, using group assignments to mix things up. She likes students to get to know their peers, and not limit themselves to working with the same person all year round.
Juan and I discovered we had both taken a course with Evangelos Liaras, one of the best International Relations professors at IE. Since then, bumping into him on campus was always a pleasant surprise. I soon learned he was one of the extraordinary individuals who make up IE.
A black belt in judo, Juan has been a runner-up in Madrid martial arts competitions for three years in a row. He has participated in numerous national competitions, and now advises promising athletes. And if that were not enough for a nineteen-year-old studying a dual degree in business administration and international relations at IE, Juan has also set up an eSports league which has 56 members and a weekly audience of 300 people. To top it all off, in his spare time he helps run his family’s business.
You seem to have a very busy schedule. How do you find time to do everything?
In reality, I don’t ever have much free time. I’m always doing something. But I do think it is important to make sure I have a little time for myself—which means I’m always in a hurry to get everything done. Over the years, I have learned how to organize myself very well. I always manage to get things done on time.
What life lessons has judo taught you? Have you been able to apply some of them to your studies?
Judo has taught me not to fear anything I know how to beat or overcome. Through judo, I have also learned how to use my emotions—like nervousness or anger—to my advantage, and have developed self-control. All of these lessons have been useful in my studies. There is never an assignment I find too challenging, and I am always more motivated than anyone else for exams. I also think I have an easier time finding solutions to problems I come across than others might, thanks to my dedication to judo.
Why did you choose IE?
I chose IE because it offered everything I was looking for in a university: an international community, classes in English and a high academic standard. There are also great employability prospects upon graduation.
Is there any advice you would like to give future IE students so they make the most of their experience here?
I would tell them to simply get out there and try everything; talk to as many people as you can and focus on having fun. Studies and grades are important, but it is even more important to grow as a person and find people who will make a positive impact on your life. Everything else will sort itself out.