Claudia – Jackie Sant-Myerhoff AYP Scholarship Winner

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I am going to be representing my culture, and since I’ll be an ambassador for my country, I want to break down all of the stereotypes about Spanish people, but I also want to break stereotypes about Americans.  I feel as though many Americans believe that anything is possible, that you can do anything, go anywhere, and be anyone you want.  I would like to bring this positive way of thinking back to my country to encourage those that surround me and challenge them to achieve goals that scare them like I did myself by going to the United States.

People in the USA tend to participate in volunteer programs more than in my culture.  One activity that I would love to do I help build a house for Habitat for Humanity or a similar organization.  By sharing my experience, I hope my friends find activities such as these interesting and would like to try them with me in Spain.

Students in the USA have more school spirit and seem to be more united, which is evident through their focus on extracurricular activites and sports.  Furthermore, they have a different style of education which is often project-oriented, allowing students to work as a team.  Spain doesn’t have the same level of group participation as the United States, and I feel encouraging this team work will be an improvement in Spanish schools.

Living in a new country and not knowing anyone forces you to introduce yourself for the first time, whether it be to your new family, friends, or acquaintances, and this is what I’ll do repeatedly in the USA.  My name is Claudia and I am from Spain, but beyond this basic information, there is much more about me and even more to discover.

I first decided that I wanted to go to America when I was very little.  The idea started out more as a dream than a real option, however this year I am determined to do it, and I am finally going.  I also consider myself adventurous.  I want everything this year is going to offer me: new people to meet, becoming fluent in English, the school activities and sports.  I want the whole challenge, even the sad parts.  I dream of seeing the world and getting to know the culture of other countries.

Surely there are many more aspects of this adventure that I will have with me for the rest of my life, but I haven’t discovered them yet.  I am going into this experience with an open mind and a willingness to take on the life lessons I will learn in the United States.

– Claudia Recalde

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