To my family, attending and finishing college is one of the greatest accomplishments they could possibly think of. My parents came to the United States from Mexico so my brother and I could have better opportunities through higher education. So, being a first generation college student I knew I couldn’t just settle for a mediocre experience. I knew I wanted to travel growing up and what better way than to study abroad?
I’m grateful for the sights, conversations, and tranquility Spain has given me so far. I’ve gained so much from my time abroad and it’s not even over yet. Living in a home-stay has immersed me more into the Catalan culture. My host mom’s sobremesa is truly top notch. We’ve stayed for hours talking after meals and I truly cherish each conversation we’ve had. Speaking Spanish derived from a Latin American country has been very different than the one spoken in Spain. I have learned how to say phrases and words I have never even heard of. I have learned history and stories I would have never been taught from home. And I have tried food that I would have never seen in the states.
I’m also grateful that despite my background, I am able to accomplish an extraordinary goal like studying abroad. Coming from a city like Paterson, New Jersey I was not sure how I could ever do what I’m doing now or even afford it. With the aid of the Castañeda scholarship, I have been and will be in places I never thought I would see at such an early age. I’ve loved where I’ve came from because it’s shaped me into the driven person I am today. It has given me a lot of fight to surpass the stereotypes my city, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status holds. It has motivated me to keep learning and growing in hope that one day I can better my hometown or other communities like mine.
This is dedicated to my family and my hometown: you will always keep me motivated.
Para mi familia y mi cuidad: siempre me van a seguir motivando.
To anyone reading that’s faced many battles, but still has many dreams. Keep going because you will make it.
Thank you Dr. Castañeda for allowing me to make my family proud, for proving a girl like me can do what she sets out to, and for allowing me the unforgettable experiences I’ve had abroad.
The world awaits…discover it.