University of Iowa

Diversity Ambassador: Alyssa Esquivel

February 20th, 2017
Diversity Ambassador Alyssa Esquivel

Dear Prospective Study Abroad Student,

My name is Alyssa, I am a senior studying Biomedical Engineering. I am excited to tell you about my study abroad experience in Alicante, Spain! Alicante really exceeded my expectations, I loved everything about that city. From its beautiful beaches and mountains to the cute little cafes on every block, it really is one of the most beautiful places I have visited.

The culture in Spain is very different from the culture in the U.S. People are much more relaxed and life moves at a slower, much more enjoyable pace. Every afternoon, the city is abundant with people taking a break from work and meeting their friends for a "café con leche" or a "bocadillo." Taking walks through the city and enjoying time outside of the house is what the locals do in their free time. I also enjoyed being surrounded by the Spanish language. I was able to learn more Spanish during my three weeks abroad than I was in an entire semester of Spanish at school.

The best thing I learned about myself while abroad was that I can adapt to new environments and overcome challenges quickly. Going to a country where you barely speak the language makes it difficult to get around and ask for things like directions or questions. I used what little Spanish I knew and was able to get by using Google Translate on my phone, which really helped when I could not remember how to say a specific word or by describing the object or thing I was trying to say. I also learned that I am very open to trying new things. During my three weeks abroad, I tried a ton of different and interesting new foods, went to my first soccer game, planned two weekend trips to Madrid and Barcelona, and stayed in a hostel for the first time!

I hope you decide to study abroad and immerse yourself in a different culture. Not only will you have an amazing time, and meet incredible people, but you will also learn so much more about yourself.