The 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.




Please note that the opinions and views expressed by diversity ambassadors are solely those of the students and do not reflect or represent the views of International Programs or the University of Iowa.