Kelli Carter ~ Staff Writer
When people think about Americans, a lot of things come into their minds. Being a student from America on a study abroad can also come with a lot of stereotypes. For example, we are too loud, we only want to party, we do not have respect, and the list can go on.
Being here, I feel like I have helped to change some people’s minds about how they will look at Americans. When people ask me where I am from, they are surprised that I say America, because I do not act the way that they expect me to, but then it also leads into a conversation about how I think about America and also the politics that are occuring. Here, I feel like people are more open to talk about risky topics and it is not too taboo.
Some of you may not know, but Barcelona is in a bit of a crisis. Barcelona is part of a region in Spain called Catalan, and this region has its own culture and language. This region also wants to be set free from the rest of Spain. They want their own independence as a nation. This has caused a lot of protests but also a division in this place. It is very interesting to be an outsider looking in on this conflict.
It is also very interesting that people are willing to share how they feel about what is going on. In America, like I said before, talking about politics is something that we are too afraid to talk about because we feel like it is too taboo. But the fact that here people will go to dinner and just talk about the situation at hand is amazing. People will have conflicting ideas but at the end of the day, they will still be friends and go back to their regular lives.
This week, I went to a conference that talked about the crisis through a journalist perspective and thought it was so enlightening. At this forum, the guest speaker was Xavier Ginesta. He is a professor at University of Vic but also an active journalist that writes about the crisis that is affecting Catalan as a whole.
Before I even went to this conference, I chose to look him up to better understand his background as a journalist. A story that he wrote that I found very interesting was an article that he wrote about his grandfather. In this article he reflects on his grandfather being in the civil war here and how that connects to the current situation that is now happening here in Barcelona.
In the actual conference, it was really nice to see what he had to say about the crises and learn how it is affecting the people who live in these areas. Also, the whole idea of this conference was for us to better understand the crisis by giving us background information so we can better analyze for ourselves what is happening.
He allowed us to ask him questions about anything and everything. This allowed us to not only get a better understanding, but also ask the risky questions that we might feel uncomfortable to ask. I think that an overall take away from this conference is that we, as students, should understand what is going on in the world around us and not just in America.
Stay tuned, for next week I will be heading to Paris for Valentine’s Day.