Why did you decide to study abroad?
My Spanish linage has been the source that drove me to choose Barcelona as my study abroad destination. Growing up in an indigenous town in Puebla, Mexico speaking the Nahualt dialect, I was constantly reminded by my father, a man who inherited the resentment and anger felt by his previous generation, the injustices committed against the indigenous population from the hands of Spaniards. Inevitably, I also inherited my father’s anger towards the “white man”, which caused me to neglect and feel ashamed of having Spanish blood. My prospective changed with the years and through education I was able to unleash an infinite desire of self-development and awareness. I saw going to Spain as an opportunity to get to know myself and further myself awareness.
How did you pay for your study abroad experience?
Studying abroad was a big decision as the cost was something I mainly worried about. Thankfuly my study abroad adviser suggested I applied for scholarships. This was something I was hesitant about as I was taking five classes and I knew some scholarship applications required a lot of time. Nonetheless, at the end of that semester not only did I end up with a 4.0 but I was awarded The Gilman, The AIFS, and the Diversity Abroad scholarships. All of these organizations plus financial Aid covered 90% of all of my cost. This allowed me to have financial freedom which allowed me to afford traveling around Europe in the three months I was studying abroad.
What is one thing you wish you would have known about studying abroad before you left?
honestly speaking there is nothing I wish I knew before going abroad. The advice I do have for students thinking about going abroad is... DO IT! Make it happen for yourself. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone, today and every single day there. Push yourself to go to a new Museum, or visit a near by country or city. I know financially it is not possible for everyone but if you do research you will find many organizations willing to support your education abroad.
Did you experience any discrimination abroad because of your race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or a physical disability? If so, what did you learn from the experience?
I identify as a Mexican woman, and I am so happy to say that I was not discriminated against because of it. It was actually the opposite people where so welcoming. This is something that caught me by surprise as I have expirenced discrimination in the USA. I assumed people in Europe were the same, but I am so happy I was wrong. While studying in Spain I had the chance to visit Morocco, there I felt the way woman were treated differently than man. Morocco was such a culture shock. What I have learned from these experiences is that assuming things based on fear is not good, specially when they could potentially stop you from global opportunities.
How has studying abroad benefited you, personally and academically?
My international experience has benefited me greatly, specially personally. I learned that I am interested in international work possibilities. I never thought this was something I would be interested in but after living life being surrounded by many different cultures and languages I have come to appreciate the possibility of working with people around the world. Now, that I have embraced my Spanish lineage I would like to one day live there, at least for a few years.