My name is Daniela and I come from La Paz, Bolivia. I am currently studying Hospitality Management in Les Roches in Marbella, Spain.
Before choosing Spain as my study abroad destination, I was considering other options such as Switzerland, France, or England. I finally chose Spain because the time that required me to get a Spanish visa was shorter compared to the other countries. My first option was actually Switzerland, but I needed more than three months to complete the process and I did not have enough time to start the intake I wanted.
In the end, it turned out to be a great choice. One of the things I like the most about studying in Spain is the fact that I share values, culture and many other things with Spanish people, due to our Hispanic origins. At the same time, I have been able to learn a lot of different ways of living and I have grown in ways I never thought I would. I have expanded a lot of my horizons and the person I used to be has changed for the better.
However, I have had to face some challenges. The main one was that when I moved to Spain, I really missed the Bolivian food, the customs, and my family. I really felt homesick because all the people I met were new, I felt alone, and needed to build new relationships. Overcoming these challenges have made me grow as a person and as a future professional. Also, on the positive side, I have made local friends, who have become my family here. One thing I have learned is that when you are in a new place without your loved ones, your friends become your family.
Luckily, in my case the language has not been a barrier. However, before, while I was studying in an international school – Colegio Montessori in La Paz, I did not use Spanish. We all had to communicate in English, even though it was not our mother tongue, which often led to misunderstandings and I did not feel fully comfortable in the beginning.
There are other difficulties that I have had to deal with while studying in Spain. I think that the living costs for international students here are very high, especially in my case, being Bolivian, where we are used to cheaper lives. Many items are less expensive such as clothing, furniture, etc. However, transportation, food, accommodation, and insurance are much more expensive, because of the quality and also because of the inflation that we are facing now.
On the other hand, there are many resources and opportunities for international students. I am an ambassador for the university and part of the Student Governance Association and the Wine Club. Also, I have been able to work part time and also do an internship twice during my entire degree and I am doing another internship now. Both of them have been in the field I am studying, which is Hospitality. The first one was as a waitress in a luxury five-star hotel, and the second one is in a luxury real estate company where I am currently working as an agent.
Once I finish my studies. I would love to stay here in Spain or to move around Europe. My main goal is to gain as much experience as I can and then go back to my country, to apply what I have learned and be able to travel all around the world.
I would say that being an international student in Spain is in general very easy. There are many other students from all over the world and it is easy to find friends and meet people because of how open Spanish people are. To future students who intend to study abroad and widen their horizons, I would definitely advise them to do it. It is the best experience they will ever have and is going to help them grow not only in their career, but also in their personal lives.