In two weeks, I’ll be heading to Lancaster, England. Lancaster is in the north between Manchester and Liverpool. In departing I wonder how my American culture will alter how individuals in England view me. In applying to the program, I highlighted my Hispanic culture, my LGBT presence and my star sign, Aquarius. Since applying, I learned Manchester LGBT Pride is only one week from when I’ll be arriving. I’m incredibly excited to attend pride, since I will be missing Orlando Pride, and to be able to celebrate with my new home. The LGBT community is a considerable part of who I am. I currently volunteer at the LGBT Center in Orlando where I’m able to provide HIV testing. The Center is one of my favorite parts of my Rollins experience and I hope to find ways to celebrate the community while I’m abroad. Although it might have seemed childish at the time, Aquarius is a major part of who I am. Aquarius’s are strong leaders who can be reserved but open up to those they care about. In my orientation, I learned many British individuals tend to act the same way. Americans act very friendly but are fake on the inside whereas the British seem cold but are truly a friend. I feel as if these traits can aid me in fitting in with others.
While completing my summer of service in India I worked with a lot of individuals from all over the United Kingdom. What I learned is my identity is very different from theirs, but still very similar. Although they make fun of the way I say “Crayon” and “Y’all”, we all had very similar views on the world and goals. We were excited about learning and helping others. I learned they aren’t much different from my friends in America besides the way we talk. My personality matched with theirs very well. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to make friends that I will get to see while studying abroad. One major difference I learned about England is their lack of diversity in food. In America, we have food from all over the world, yet most of my British friends had no idea what a Quesadilla was.
I’m not nervous to study abroad, especially after just getting back from India. I know I have some friends in Lancaster to help me out and so many more friends to make.