Thursday, April 28, 2016

Things that I noticed while living in Spain...

  • There is a time in the middle of the day for rest that is called "siesta". From around 3-5pm, all of the shops close and all Spaniards participate in a few hours to unwind before the evening. 
  • People don't smile to each other when passing on the street. Sometimes it can be considered flirting! 
  • The foods are not as processed. Always made fresh with healthy ingredients. 
  • Spaniards eat A LOT of bread and olive oil. It became a main part of my diet while living abroad. 
  • Being topless on a beach is legal. 
  • Public transportation is apart of the European lifestyle.
  • Some bartenders will actually drink with you!
  • Tipping is not required anywhere :) 
  • Pick-Pocketing is probably the most common crime that occurs. 
  • When going out, the night doesn't get exciting until around midnight and people return to their homes by 6am.
  • There are a lot of fresh fish markets (with live products!)
  • People greet others with kisses on the cheek.
  • All of the schools teach English.
  • Instead of celebrating Halloween, Spaniards celebrate Carnival.
  • Tapas and pinchos are very common; they are little side dishes to share. I love them!
  • The legal drinking age is 18.
  • Coffee is a way of life. 
  • Spain has arguably THE best fish. 
  • In Spain, the dogs are walked without leashes and aren't as open to being pet. 
  • Europe has  A LOT of history. My backyard in Spain was filled with Cathedrals, Castles, Synagogues, Monasteries, etc. 
  • People walk a lot more. 
  • WhatsApp is a must. 

Tenerife, Canary Islands

Buenas tardes from the Canary Islands! As my semester came to a close with the completion of my final exams, I felt as though I had accomplished something greater than myself. To be honest, before coming to Spain I assumed that my classes would be a breeze and school would not even be a concern. Unfortunately, I experienced the exact opposite. Taking courses in another language--one that I was not fluent in--wasn't exactly a piece of cake. Although it was a challenge, I can proudly look back on my semester and give I myself a pat on the back. Not many people have the courage to do such things, and I am glad that I grasped this semester abroad by the horns, because now I know that I am capable of accomplishing anything! That being said, hard work does in fact pay off... After an intense week of final exams, 12 of my friends and I traveled to Tenerife. Tenerife is a beautiful island apart of the Canary Islands, which is under the Spanish reign. There, you can find hiking--including the third highest volcano in the world,-- El Teide , beaches, a UV index of about 9, and of course, tourists. It was the most perfect way to celebrate the beginning of summer. On our day of arrival, we took a taxi from the Tenerife North airport and headed to our airbnb. Once we arrived, we immediately got into our bathing suits and headed to our pool. Our Airbnb was breathtaking. Three stories that included a pool, a ping pong table, an elevator, granite countertops, three terraces, flatscreen tv's, and so much more that 20 year olds didn't exactly need, but hey, it's vacation! We were also only 5 minutes from a beach, which was super convenient! Our first day was mainly filled with relaxing because we had a 6am flight that morning. The next day, after my run, a few of my friends and I ventured to the nearby beach to catch some rays. Later that night we dressed up and danced the night away at a nearby club. It was a lot of fun! For my final day, we went to a beach called Playa de Las Americas. Something that immediately caught our eyes was the giant obstacle course in the ocean! We dropped our things and frantically ran like children towards the water. It was a blast! After getting a lot darker, or redder in some people's cases, we decided it was time to head back to our Airbnb. To complete our "Vitamin-sea" filled trip, we all dressed up and went to a nice restaurant on the beach. It could not have been more perfect. A beautiful sunset on the beach, a group of friends, and delicious fish--I couldn't resist getting sole again! It was so tasty! Since I am about to receive my grades for the semester I will speak in grading terms and give this trip a well deserved A+. Next stop... Home.

Sunset in Tenerife 

Holding my friend's dinner!

La Playa de Las Americas

La Playa de Las Americas

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Global Identities: Assignment 4

Assignment #4- Job Skills + Overseas Experience:

Starting Your Portfolio Pieces: 

For this assignment we are asking that you begin to think about skills and experiences that are highly regarded for whatever field you are looking to go into.  We are going to link these to the way(s) you have demonstrated these skills during your time overseas, and help you to incorporate the language around intercultural communication into your skillset.

Address the following in this assignment:

·      Job Posting: Find a job posting in a relevant field of interest or graduate/professional school application question that pertains to what you are looking to do after graduation.  Include this job posting along with your responses.
·      Cover Letter: A cover letter is a way for you to highlight the experiences you’ve had, and the ways those experiences will benefit the company/organization.  Write 1 paragraph that could be included in a cover letter that addresses the following question, “In what ways will your experience abroad add value to this company/organization?”
·      Scenarios: Think of two scenarios or events from this semester abroad that demonstrate the skills the employer is looking for and explain how what you learned from these experiences would make you a better candidate for this position.  You can refer back to assignment 1 to review the jobs skills cultivated through an international experience that employers view as beneficial.  Please use the STAR technique in structuring this section: 
o   What was the Situation or setting?
o   What specific Task or problem had to be addressed?
o   What specific Actions did you take?
o   What was the Result or outcome?

Link to UM Career Resource Behavioral Interviewing Technique (S.T.A.R.): 

Resume (OPTIONAL): Create a professional resume that you would use to apply for the job (or graduate school) that you have chosen.  When writing about your study abroad experience, include bullet points that highlight what you have done/learned/gotten out of your semester abroad.  Try to come up with ideas that use the intercultural concepts we have been reading about throughout the course.  Quantify your accomplishments.  For example if you tutored English while abroad, you could list: Independently tutored a group of six kindergarten students weekly for one hour in basic English language skills. Use Resume Writing and Skills Statement as models.
Compiling thoughts and ideas of your experience and what those things add to your professional and/or academic toolkit while in the moment will enable you to return to the U.S. with key components of a professional portfolio. A professional portfolio is a collection of your best work samples that you can use to market your skills and experiences.  Your study abroad experience is an integral part of your college experience that you will want to do the most to market as you move into a professional career and/or continue on to graduate school.  Check out a short video on Professional Portfolios

ABA Behavior Therapist / Interventionist
Orange County – Aliso Viejo, California

Behavior Frontiers, LLC is a leading agency providing applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment to help children with autism and other special needs to reach their full potential. Our expert team of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and highly trained behavior instructors use state-of-the-art ABA methods to teach children social, communication, play, cognitive, and self-care skills, while reducing problem behaviors. We are seeking energetic and career-minded individuals to join our team. Behavior Frontiers will provide all the training needed for new behavior instructors to be able to make a positive difference in the lives of children with autism spectrum disorders. We encourage you to find out more about Behavior Frontiers by visiting our website at:

Behavior Instructors:
Help children with autism and other special needs to meet their goals using proven ABA methods in a variety of settings, such as the school, home, or community. Behavior Instructors receive extensive training in effective ABA methods, such as discrete trial teaching (DTT), naturalistic teaching strategies (NATS), and verbal behavior (VB). Our behavior supervisors provide on-going support and guidance to behavior instructors to assist them with accurate implementation of treatment programs.
Availability: Part-time only between the hours of 2-8 PM weekdays plus Saturdays.Highest need between 3-7/7:30 PM. 
Locations: Central Orange County - Irvine, Santa Ana and surrounding areas!

- 6 months experience working with children
- Bachelor's degree in psychology/related field
- Valid driver's license and auto insurance
- Ability to provide negative TB test results
- Ability to clear FBI & DOJ fingerprinting
- Energetic attitude and desire to help children succeed!
-Spanish Speaking Preferred

Benefits for All Employees:
- Initial and ongoing paid training
- Frequent supervision and guidance
- Opportunities for career advancement
- Paid mileage
- Paid drive time
- Paid professional liability insurance
- Opportunities for BCBA or BCaBA mentorship
Additional Benefits for Full-time Employees:
- Medical and dental insurance
- 401k Plan
- Paid Personal Time Off & Paid Sick Time
- Paid Holidays and Paid Sick Time
Behavior Frontiers is the ideal company for you to reach your career goals while providing exceptional service to help improve the lives of children with autism and their families.
Please Note: This is a Part-Time opportunity with possible opportunity for full-time employment. Full- time employment opportunities depend on availability.

Cover Letter:

In order to obtain a position for at Behavior Frontiers, I would like to present my strengths and experiences in a productive manner. During my experience studying abroad in Toledo, Spain, I was fortunate enough to obtain an internship at El Colegio E.P. While teaching English in a primarily Spanish speaking school, I became more aware of my passion for speaking Spanish and working with children. I also strengthened my patience and communication skills. I worked with kids from ages 3-15, and also fulfilled my desire to work with children with and without disabilities.
I believe that I am qualified for this position because I have a great deal of experience with kids. I enjoy spending time with them and gain so much from them. I am also highly qualified for this position because I obtain a 3.0 or higher GPA. I have had a wide range of experiences as a volunteer. I have volunteered at Second Harvest Heartland, St. David’s Center Child & Family Development, Feed My Starving Children, Special Olympics Minnesota, Harvest Preparatory & Seed Academy, Park Nicollet Hospital, and Opportunity Partners. These experiences have made me more open to new environments and people, which have strengthened my skills in many different ways. My social skills are Personable, Extroverted, Engaged, Good Listener, and Respectful. My Individual skills are Optimistic, Caring, Friendly, Understanding, Leader, and Compassionate. My Academic skills are Hard-worker, Motivated, Intelligent, and Responsible. Lastly, my strengths are Connectedness, Empathy, Developer, Includer, and Positivity.
Within my first few days while studying abroad in Toledo, Spain I gradually began to lose hope. This “hope” mostly revolved around my academics in Spain, specifically with the language adjustment. I knew a good amount of Spanish, but I was nowhere near being fluent. At my new school, FundaciĆ³n Jose Ortega Gasset, the teachers will NEVER speak to you in English, which was a huge cultural shock to me. This grand adjustment made me scared to even converse in a casual setting, because I didn’t want to say something wrong or even not speak fast enough. I have always considered myself a perfectionist, and being abroad has made it even more difficult for me to accept my mistakes. Although I did—and still do at times—come across failures, through time and perseverance, I have come to discover that anyone is capable of being successful at something. It wasn’t easy at first, but once I left my comfort zone, I began making small changing in my daily life to improve my Spanish skills.
First, I changed my entire phone and computer from English to Spanish. Then, in addition to speaking more Spanish, I began listening more intently to how the Spaniards spoke. Finally, I started to read magazines and books in Spanish for leisure. Looking back at my first day in Spain, I can honestly say that I have grown a lot. In my first assignment for Global Identities, I mentioned how I hoped to improve my ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization. By learning about new cultures and meeting new people, I believe that my experiences abroad have helped me to broaden my horizons, ultimately improving my communication skills in a language that I am not fluent in. In conclusion, I believe that anything is possible. You just have to stay hopeful, work hard, and understand that failure isn’t a bad thing—it is simply a part of the process of learning from our mistakes. Once we have acknowledged our mistakes we can try to do something differently in the future, ultimately reaching our goals.
While interning abroad at Colegio E.P., I undoubtedly experienced a few challenges. Due to the fact that I was not fluent in the native language, being apart of a team who spoke a language other than my own was a bit of an obstacle. At first, I was slightly timid when speaking to the other teachers in Spanish. They spoke incredibly fast and looked at me as if I was a lost puppy when I spoke. I needed to become more confident in my Spanish in order to work efficiently in a team setting. Little by little, I started to converse more with the teachers in more casual settings. For example, during recess time, my teachers asked me about myself. I began to feel more relaxed when discussing my personal life—because I had practiced it many times in previous Spanish classes—and proceeded to tell them a little about myself, discussing topics such as, what school I go to, what I am studying, how cold the winters get in Minnesota, etc. Gradually, I felt more at ease speaking with my co-workers, and eventually felt more like a member of a team. In my first assignment for my Global Identities course, I mentioned how I hoped to improve my ability to work in a team structure. Although it took a little more confidence in my speaking skills, I eventually became able to work in a team structure in another language, which is something that I believe not many people are capable of doing.

Global Identities: Assignment 3

Assignment #3 - Looking Beneath the Surface (At least 750 words):
The paper should be well-edited and demonstrate your ability to make ethnorelative cross-country and/or cross-cultural comparisons on significant issues that are of importance to you. (At least 750 words)

Option A: Choose one topic to compare between something in your host culture and your home culture (you can identify home culture as ethnic culture, geographical culture, gendered culture, etc.). This “something” could be politics, child-rearing, dating, environmental concerns, education, business, religion, poverty, and/or countless other things.  You must talk with one person from the host culture about your topic (friend, instructor, colleague, host-parent, “expert”, stranger), and incorporate their thoughts into your analysis.  What insights can your host expert give you that will help you “see it from the local perspective?”  In making this comparison, incorporate this unit's readings and choose a topic that allows you to look beneath the surface of what is visible. Consider your own cultural lens and how this affects your perception of the topic. 

While interning at El Colegio E.P. in Toledo, I have become enlightened to the various differences between the Spanish education system and the American education system. A typical school day in Spain can be seen as different in comparison to a day in the United States for reasons revolving entities such as: dress code, lunch, schedules, school security, language, and more.
On my first day interning abroad, the initial thing that caught my eye was the dress code. In the “infantile,” also known as the pre-school/kindergarten section of the school, I immediately noticed what the children were wearing. These tiny humans were dressed in long, checkered, “lab coat-like” jackets that hid their clothing underneath. And each classroom that I entered throughout the day had a different colored “lab coat”. In addition to the students, I also noticed the teachers’ dress code was almost identical to that of the children’s, except their lab coats actually did look like lab coats: hospital white. At first, I was caught off guard by their attire, but on the other hand I could see its purpose. By having everyone wear almost the same exact outfit, no one could judge others, ultimately minimizing bullying within the school.
Another difference between the Spanish education system and the American education system is the lunchtime. In the United States, schools have cafeterias that provide food for the students and teachers. In Spain, students usually go home for lunch at the end of their school day. A typical school day typical runs from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. And after the school day, Spaniards participate in “La Siesta”. Between the hours of 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm, Spain shuts down to allow the locals to rest after a long and hectic morning and prepare for the busy afternoon. La siesta literally translates
as a short nap of 15-30 minutes. However, this definition is far from the 3-hour break taken in the 
middle of the working day. This is something that never occurs in the United States, and comes off as a shock to almost all tourists.
            Furthermore, I noticed the difference in school security in Spain compared to in the United States. In the United States, visitors typically must sign into the office in order to enter the school during school hours. The playground is usually open to the parking lot, etc. In addition, dropping off and picking up students is right outside the front office. In Spain, it is a little different. The first thing I saw when I approached the school were gates. School buildings in Spain are typically behind tall walls or gates, and are locked during school hours. Visitors must buzz in at the gates in order to visit during school hours. Parents are not allowed to go beyond the gate when dropping off their children in the morning, but may enter 5 minutes prior to the end of the school day for pick up.
            In addition to the differences that were addressed in the preceding paragraphs, I also paid attention to the way subjects were taught, specifically secondary languages. Being an English instructor for youngsters is undoubtedly extremely difficult at times and a great deal of patience is required, but after only my first few days I realized how much the students wanted to learn English. They became very enthusiastic every time I taught them a new word! It was exciting for the Spanish students and myself!
            After receiving this assignment, I decided to speak with one of my colleagues at El Colegio E.P. about the differences between the Spanish education system and the American education system. Once we discussed the fine details of education in Spain, I realized that America revolves a lot more around achieving goals. When talking about siesta, my colleague mentioned, “Life shouldn’t be so rushed by work and stress. Life is too short anyways. We have certain goals that we would like to achieve, but they are not our main motive. Here, we take education and life seriously, but we also remind ourselves that everyone deserves a break at times”. Hearing this made me think about Merzali’s article, “Westerners and Easterners see the world differently”. When describing the differences between the East Asian culture and Western culture, Nisbett states, “In the West, life is about achieving goals” (Merzali, 2005).
            In conclusion, I would like to express my newfound acceptance to things different from my own. When reading Bennett’s article, “Intercultural communication: A current perspective,” I became a tad irritated when reading more about how much humans strive to avoid differences. “The thinking seemed to be, ‘If only people were more like us, then they would be all right to have around’” (Bennett, pg. 2, 1998). I asked myself, “is this really how humans should behave?” Personally—especially after experiencing many differences while studying abroad in Toledo, Spain—I have come to enjoy new things more. Cultural differences are what make the world unique. From these differences we are better able to learn about our own culture and grow from these judgments.

Work Cited

·      Bennett, M. J. (1998). Intercultural communication: A current perspective. In M. J. Bennett (Ed.), Basic concepts of intercultural communication: Selected readings (pp. 1–34). Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press.

·      Merali, Z. (2005). Westerners and Easterners see the world differently. New Scientist. Retrieved February 21, 2014, from

Global Identities: Assignment 2

Assignment #2

Answer the following questions through a photo or song:  Using the cultural adjustment readings describe the following: Are you viewing your experience through your own cultural lens?  How does this differ from the host-culture perspective? What holds importance for you? How can you portray this experience to others? Discuss some of the differences you are encountering. (At least 600 words)

1)  A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Send us a postcard!!!  Not literally of course, but send us a digital picture that best describes your experience.  Send along text to describe/narrate why you chose the picture and how you feel it depicts your answer to the questions above.

            This photo was taken the morning after I arrived in Toledo, Spain. In the moment, I was frustrated because I could not fall back asleep due to my jetlag, but as time proceeded I became more content. As I struggled to go back to sleep, I noticed a light peaking through my window. It was six in the morning and I felt more awake than ever. Initially, I wanted to be asleep, but suddenly I became captivated by the sunrise. It almost served as a metaphor for my study abroad journey. I knew that there were going to be challenges while being abroad, but once I arrived in Toledo they became so much more real.
            Within my first few days in Spain I gradually began to lose hope. This “hope” mostly revolved around my academics in Spain, specifically with the language adjustment. I knew a good amount of Spanish, but I was nowhere near being fluent. At my new school, Fundacion Jose Ortega, the teachers will NEVER speak to you in English, and that was somewhat of a cultural shock to me. It made me scared to even converse in a casual setting, because I didn’t want to say something wrong or not speak fast enough. I consider myself a perfectionist, and being abroad has made it even more difficult to accept my mistakes…but through time and perseverance, I am learning to adjust to my surroundings and tell myself that failure isn’t always a bad thing.
In “Culture shock and the cross-cultural learning experience,” Adler writes about the initial frustrations that can occur during one’s stay abroad. After reading his section “The First View: Culture Shock as the Prelude to Adjustment,” I began to finally understand why I was feeling the way I did. Adler describes individuals going through culture shock as “sad, angry, frustrated, estranged,” and so much more (Adler, p.1, 1972). I realized that I was, in fact, going through these feelings. I felt deep sadness and estrangement when seeing photos of my friends online back home, and when I couldn’t talk to my boyfriend, due to the seven-hour time difference. In addition, I began to experience severe self-pity when thinking about my academics being in a whole different language from what I am used to. I wanted to stay positive, but something was just telling me I wasn’t able to accomplish anything.
After reading Paige’s “Strategies for Developing Intercultural Competence,” I could simply define these feelings of frustration and denial as “ethnocentrism”. In other words, ethnocentrism means: “believing your own culture is superior to others and having the tendency to view other cultures in terms of one’s own” (Paige, p. 108, 2006). Ethnocentrism can also be more damaging, making one view their “own culture as the central or mainstream culture against which others should be compared and judged” (Paige, p. 108, 2006). After reading this article, I can unfortunately admit that I was initially a little ethnocentric and only viewed my experiences through my cultural lens. Once the difference in language became a reality, and my professors would not speak to me in my native language—nor let me speak in my native language—I began to show ethnocentrism and didn’t understand why they wouldn’t just adjust to my native language instead. As time proceeds I hope that I lose my ethnocentric attitudes and become more ethnorelative instead. That being said, I will become more “accepting, adaptive, and integrative” of the differences that surround me while being in a new culture (Paige, p. 107, 2006).
            The sunrise over Toledo provided hope for me. There is so much beauty in Spain. There is so much to learn and so much to see. After about two weeks of a great deal of discouragement, I had finally discovered my hope. Looking around my school, I noticed that almost every student was in my shoes. We all had to take our time fabricating sentences and comprehending phrases in Spanish. It was at that moment that I became content. I realized that it is okay that I am nowhere near being fluent, because every day I will become more comprehensive in Spanish than I was the day before. This is just the beginning, and I am very excited to see where this journey takes me.

Work Cited

    Adler, P. S. (1972). Culture shock and the cross-cultural learning experience. In D. S. Hoopes (Ed.), Readings in intercultural communication (Vol. II). Pittsburgh, PA: Regional Council for International Education.
    Paige, R. M., Cohen, A. D., Kappler, B., Chi, J. C., & Lassegard, J. P. (2006). Strategies for developing intercultural competence. In Maximizing study abroad: A students’ guide to strategies for language and culture learning and use (2nd ed., pp. 107–111). Minneapolis, MN: Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, University of Minnesota.