Author: Rachel Silcox

Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

Hello again and welcome back to University College Utrecht! Today I’ll be introducing you to one of the people I live with, Juana! Juana is the most generous person I have met in all of my time abroad! She is hilarious, kind and always accommodating. When my phone was stolen on one of my trips, Juana was the first person to help me out. She lent me her phone charger and her old phone and helped me out tremendously! I am so thankful to have met Juana and I want you to be able to meet her too, so today I am going to introduce her to you! Juana is from Madrid, Spain. Her favorite color is green and her favorite food is tortilla. Her major is something in the social sciences, perhaps anthropology, politics or psychology, but now I will let her tell you about herself!

Me: So why did you decide to come to UCU and study the liberal arts and sciences?

Juana: The first time I heard about the program I thought it was very cool! I don’t know what to do, because I am genuinely interested in a lot! I wanted freedom to try many different subjects, because I’m really interested in it all!

Me: What are you really excited to learn about?

Juana: I am super excited for Comparative Politics. I used to not think that was what I was into, but now I am really excited for it. I used to think it didn’t affect my life, but now I want to study it and combine it with anthropology, so I can go between people and their politicians.

Me: What changed that now you are excited to learn about politics?

Juana: As I grow up, I want to know more, like what is going on. This past year has been crazy in Spain and I want to know all that is going on and have an opinion. The events in Spain (Catalonian Referendum) have affected me a lot more than I expected. The situation was handled wrong in so many ways. The government sucks; they didn’t have any dialogue; they just did what they wanted. It would have been easy if they had talked and got on the same page. I want to be a person that can contribute to dialogue and work with people across differences.

Me: Have any experiences in your personal life contributed to this too?

Juana: Yes, people can be so closed minded sometimes. I’ve struggled all my life with that in Spain. I’m from Argentina originally. I say I’m Spanish, because that’s where I’ve lived almost all of my life, but in Spain, I don’t feel Spanish. When I have conversations with people, sometimes they will insult me just because I am an immigrant. There is a problem with that. Some Spanish people just repeat what they hear that immigrants take jobs from the real Spanish and stuff. The Spanish criticize South Americans, especially if their skin is dark. I try to discuss with these people, but sometimes I just don’t know what to say. I want to learn about politics and anthropology, so I can understand all perspectives to help open people’s minds to view each other and their viewpoints fairly. I want to work with people and engage with them through discussion, so maybe more people can learn to be open-minded!

Me: With that goal in mind, is there a certain type of job you would like?

Juana: I have no idea yet! I want to do something that can make a little bit of an impact in someone’s life. I want to work with people and enjoy what I do!

Me: Is there anything you would like to say to people in the U.S. or Valpo?

Juana: I want to tell people to try to have an open mind. It can be hard, but an easy way to do that is to travel and see different things! Then, you might be able to open yourself up to all possibilities!