Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Gaining New Perspectives
Visiting the United States had not been high on Fernanda Lima Sento Se’s priority list. That was before she set sail with Semester at Sea as its Interport Spanish student.
After two weeks of living with more than 700 U.S. college students—and making a number of friends—Fernanda returns to her home in Spain tomorrow with a much greater interest in the U.S.
“I’ve really enjoyed meeting so many different people and I’m looking forward to going to visit the different cities where they are from,” said Fernanda, who lives on the Spanish island of Mallorca and attends university in Barcelona.
In return, Fernanda hopes the stories she’s told about life among Spanish college-age students will inspire her U.S. peers to discover the different personalities of her countries many cities and provinces.
“People thought Spain was much less cosmopolitan than it really is,” she said. “They asked me a lot of questions about bull fights and partying and there is much more to Spain that that.”
In a recent Explorer Seminar (one of 16 information classes open to students), Fernanda spoke to curious students about life in Barcelona, the museums, and what makes each of the different provinces special. “Every little town has its own personality; they are all so distinct with their own customs and traditions,” said Fernanda, 22.
Fernanda admits that she is not the typical Spanish student. She was born to Brazilian immigrants who who settled in Mallorca after retiring from a professional traveling dance company. She studied in a British-run primary/secondary school where she took French and German. She speaks Portugese with her family, Spanish, English, French, German and two Spanish dialects—Catalan (in Barcelona) and Mallorquin (on Mallorca).
However, if there is a new face of Spanish youth, Fernanda may be part it. Most of her friends span the spectrum of Spain—German immigrants in Mallorca, northern African and South American immigrants and students in Barcelona, young adults with a long family history in Spain.
“People in Spain come from so many different places now and the country is changing in so many ways,” she said.
Fernanda hopes to show some of her new U.S. friends her Spain if they have a chance to meet while Semester at Sea is in the country.