Anonymous said: Ehy! what was your favorite thing about living in Barcelona?
My favorite part about studying abroad was being able to dance on the professional level, experience life in another country, traveling. I love and appreciate so much the people I met and the experiences I had.
Invitation for all currently and previously interested in the abroad experience! For returnees, share your awesome adventures with others and for prospective students, feel free to ask questions and take a glimpse into hopefully, your next Spring/ Summer/ Fall/ Year abroad.
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After being asked what advice I would give to women of color entering college I
wrote the following. I then sent it to my younger cousin, age 16, in hopes
that she would appreciate it. Then I thought, well shoot! These are good things
to say to any person thinking about going to college! So, I would like to share it
with you all! If you know any students entering college, or in college already,
feel free to pass this on to them :)
1. OUR NUMBERS ARE LOW Alrighty...so the first thing I would tell this young woman of color is to realize that our numbers as brown PEOPLE are low in the higher educational system; and our numbers as WOMEN of color are even lower. Realize that there are not a lot of us, so seek out support in your community. Example: I am a 4th year at UC San Diego. The Latin@ population is 13%. The African American population has never exceeded 1.3% in all of its 60+ years of existence. These numbers in comparison to other racial groups on campus are daunting. However, Chican@, Latin@, African American, etc. organizations exist, and thrive. There is a strong community at our respective universities waiting for Us. Find support, love, and a home with these groups. Remember, that your main focus when you attend a university is to do well in your classes, and these groups can help you do that. Unfortunately, I think, since there are only so many of us in higher education, we represent our entire race. So we must realize that we are not just doing this for ourselves, but also for all of those Brown PEOPLE, not just women, that will come after us. This is my opinion. Other people may differ in opinion. 2. FIND MENTORS Find people who will help guide you throughout college. Who will help you find careers after you graduate. Someone, or multiple people, who have gone through this process before, and people who have the careers that you are pursuing, that can give you advice, help you choose classes, encourage you, suggest clubs, etc. People who believe in you and want to see you succeed! 3. ASK Don't be afraid to ask. If you do not know, ask someone. Don't be shy. Knowledge is power. Achieve your goals. 4. NETWORK Knowing people can get you jobs, internships, leadership positions, experience, etc. Talk to EVERYBODY. You make a ton of friends that way and you never know who could hook you up with stuff, opportunities, etc. Example: I danced on the professional level because I knew people, not because I auditioned. 5. BE OPEN The purpose of college is not only to fill your brain with knowledge, but also to open your mind. Find your community, let them support you. But also build new friendships with people you never would have met if you hadn't gone to college. Know where you come from, be involved in your community, the community you already know; but also form new communities. The college experience is for you to learn. Learn what your classes have to teach (think critically!), learn about life, and, ultimately, about yourself. 6. MAKE LIFE HAPPEN Generally, I would say expand your horizons. Take advantage of the resources you have and don't get hung up on what you don't have. Make due. Don't make excuses for what you didn't have. Understand what you don't have, and work around those obstacles to achieve your goals. You will be as successful as you want to be. YOU have to MAKE life happen. Make things happen for yourself. Be a 'go getter'. Make plans, make lists that detail HOW you will achieve your goals and follow them. 7. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF & MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS Don't let someone else's doubts stop you from pursuing your goals. Don't doubt yourself just because someone thinks your goals are unrealistic. You already made it to college. You already proved people wrong by getting into college. Now go on witcho bad self and make yourself happy. Strive to be the best, most successful person you can be. Con mucho Amor, Vibras, y Suerte, Chela
HELLO ALL!! It’s been about 8 weeks since I’ve been back in California, and man do I have a ton to of things to say!…about everything! I know I’ve been neglecting my blog for the last 10 months but I have valid reasons! My computer stopped working after 2 months of being in Barcelona, and later my ipod was stolen so I was living without technology, basically. I was forced to go outside and explore the world that I had at my finger tips, and learn about it and myself. Its safe to say, that I loved it! I felt so free without feeling like I had to check my facebook every five seconds. I can say it was difficult to adjust to not listening to my music, but rather the Spanish radio stations on our old boom box. I was pushed out of my comfort zone more than I expected while abroad. As I adjusted to this new lifestyle of less technology I grew to love and enjoy it. I learned about the world around me and myself. Because of this I am more confident than ever! I took a lot away from my year abroad. I altered my lifestyle and I learned things that I will take with me throughout the rest of my life. I learned life lessons that I plan to pass onto my children, my niece and nephew, my younger cousins, anyone who will listen! My mind is more open. This trip helped me to love my life even more and be grateful for everything that I have, and all the opportunities and choices I can take advantage of. I am ready now to pay that forward. I have recently applied to work at the study abroad office at UCSD. Wish me luck! I hope I get it!
Well…in response to my first entry….folklorico was never put on hold after all! After practicing flamenco for about four months once a week, I decided it wasn’t enough dancing for me, and what I really wanted to do was perform. In Spain, flamenco artists perform as professionals, not necessarily in groups. It was a whole new way of doing things that I found fascinating. I learned that there are genres that separate the music on a 12 count instead of an 8 count. That absolutely blew my mind! Never did I think music could be separated in anything other than an 8 count. Then after conversations with my Sister, she brought to my attention that she had performed Turkish dances on a 9 count! Amazing! I learned that flamenco is an art form that holds so much meaning and channels the passion of the Gypsy community through the intricate movements of its dancers and musicians. Although I was enjoying myself, I decided to find a folklorico group. I found a group called Son de Mexico, which I started dancing with in December up until I left in June. I also performed on the professional level with La Compania de Danza de Viviana Sanchez. I went to Spain expecting to learn a new art form, but I left with a more refined knowledge a dance genre I have been practicing for 13 years. I am excited to pass on what I have learned to our group at UCSD, Ballet Folklorico La Joya de Mexico.
As far as putting a year of bonding with close friends on hold..I am so excited to see them all again! I have had such a great time already in the Bay Area, and I am anxious to see my friends in San Diego when I return. And to live with two of my closest friends and begin playing music with them again! I would like to say that I am very appreciative of the friends that stayed in contact with me regularly while I was abroad. It means a lot to me that we both value our friendship so much. You are what my Mother calls ‘true blue’. In Spain, I made a ton of friends. I can now say I have friends all over the world! Its a great feeling. I am so grateful to have these people in my life, and after being back in California I not only appreciate the people I have met throughout my life, but also small, intangible things I never thought twice about. I love the fact that I can drink water straight from the tap in Sonoma County. I love that there is enough space on the side walk for me to walk without running into people. I am so appreciative of dryers, and not having to worry about paying bills, at least for the time being before I go back to school. I love when my Mother offers to make me lunch when I go to work, and when my Father makes me snack packs for the week. I love the fact that I can speak Spanish with more ease and I can do so with so many people, and so many people are willing to learn! Rooms that seemed average size to me are now huge! There is so much space in the U.S.!
My bucket list….I didn’t do everything on my bucket list. But I’m fine with that, because I gained so much more than I ever expected. After traveling in Spain, France, Italy, and Scotland, I feel that I now know how to get to know a city. I’m excited to apply this knowledge I have gained in exploring my own city, and San Diego, where I go to school. I want to feel like I belong to these cities, just like I felt like I belonged to Barcelona.
In conclusion, it feels great to be back. The first few days were rough because I was afraid of having to adjust to a whole new lifestyle, yet again; but I did so quickly. Fall is soon to be upon us and I look forward to staying in contact with the people I have met during my year abroad, and I am ready to start a new chapter in my life: my last year at UCSD and the beginning of my time in the working world.
I would like to thank everyone who wished me well as they saw me off to Barcelona, everyone who ever gave me a small piece of advice, all those who supported me in any way, those of you who even just thought about me while I was abroad. Thank you so much. I remember each and every one of you, and I appreciate the time we have spent together, even if it was a short time. I have learned many things from each of you. Thank you for the knowledge you have shared with me.
P.S.: If you would like me to expand on any particular part of my year abroad please let me know, as I would be more than happy to do so : D