Learning About Other Cultures

ANGELAAngela 1

Age: 18

Major: Studying Communications at St. John’s University

Hometown: Oxon Hill, MD

Where have you traveled?
So far I’ve been to Spain (Pamplona, Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, San Sebastian, Segovia and Hondarribia) and France (Biarritz and Hendaye). In a couple weeks I’ll be adding Rome, Italy to the list of places that I’ve travelled to.

What inspired you to go abroad?
What inspired me to go abroad was ultimately my love for travelling. My mom and I had always taken our “mother-daughter trips” to different places in the U.S. such as the Mall of America in Minnesota or Orlando, Florida, and I wanted to expand my horizons and truly see the beauty of other countries. I’ve always wanted to see how other people lived and taste authentic cuisine from those places, and the more I traveled, the more I fell in love with it. Another big reason I began travelling was that I was taking Spanish at the time and I wanted more experience at the language, and where’s a better place to practice than in Spain? After that experience it became more than just wanting to practice the language and more about wanting to see the world. At this point I consider myself a “travel junkie” and I’m always looking for the next opportunity to travel abroad.
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

What has been your best experience? The worst?

My best experience had to be seeing La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. La Sagrada Familia is an absolutely stunning work of architecture, and what’s amazing is that it isn’t even finished being constructed yet. Every touch of detail is beautiful in that church. From the birth of Christ being depicted in the architecture and design on the front of the church to his arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection on the back of the church, it is a breath-taking design. It’s definitely a must-see for anyone in Barcelona. I was in complete awe at that church, and no other church or cathedral we saw in Spain compared.
My worst experience probably had to be visiting France. The parts of France that we visited (Hendaye and Biarritz) are absolutely gorgeous, especially Biarritz. However, even though those places were in Basque Country (meaning the people were essentially of Spanish descent) they spoke French, and unfortunately, myself and the other students did not. The French people we encountered were rude in a way that if we didn’t speak French, they didn’t speak to us, which made it hard for us to enjoy our time there. Fortunately, one of the Spanish host students spoke French, and that made our day much better. But I now know to learn some French for the next time I go to France!
How did you hear about these opportunities?

San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian, Spain

Every trip abroad I’ve done has been with my schools. The trips to Spain and France were with my high school, the first in Spring 2012 was solely travel, but the trip in Spring 2013 was partially an exchange program where I stayed with a host family the first half of the trip, and then we travelled the latter half of the trip. My upcoming excursion to Italy is with St. John’s, and it is one week abroad while taking a one credit course.

How did you fund these opportunities?
I have to thank my parents for these opportunities. I never fundraised or received a scholarship for these trips and my parents paid out of pocket for me to go to Europe, not once, but now for my third time. I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am for these opportunities my parents have blessed me with and continue to bless me with.

Royal Palace of Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid

What have you learned from your travels?
I’ve learned that I truly enjoy learning about and partaking in other cultures. I can even say that I’ve adopted many of these customs and I still use them to this day, such as, putting olive oil on my bread and salad instead of butter or salad dressing. It’s amazing to see how other cultures live as opposed to our own. I learn new things every time I go somewhere and I can’t wait to tell people about what I’ve seen. I’ve also learned how much I like food from other countries! Being in another country did make me miss foods like Chick-Fil-A, but there is nothing compared to eating authentic Spanish Paella or a croissant from a French bakery or having helado (ice cream) for dessert. One of my favorite things about Europe besides the food, has to be how laid-back the people are and not in a lazy way at all. It never once seemed like people were in a rush to get to work or had road rage. Everyone would be at the park with their pets or their loved ones just enjoying life, soaking in the European sun. It was relaxing and refreshing to see.

Where do you plan to visit in the future?
In the future I plan to study abroad in the Spring spending a semester in Seville, Spain,

Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France

Rome, Italy, and Paris, France as well as possibly visiting places such as England, Ireland, Germany, Amsterdam, and Morocco. Other places on my list that I definitely want to visit are Portugal, Australia, Brazil and South Africa, just to name a few.


Want to get in touch with Angela? Email her at anjieamore@gmail.com