Luis Periel is a guy from Madrid that lived in Spain until he was 18. Once he finished high school he decided to go to the United states to attend university. When he was in high school he played soccer and rugby and he was always a big music fan. When he was 12 he started playing the guitar. Currently he is a Junior studying biology and psychology in the US. Luis got the opportunity to go study abroad in the US and he decided to take the risk. He thought getting a degree in the US would pay off and he would have more job and life opportunities that if he would study in his home country. Another plus to make this decision was the excitement of living the full college experience.
His teachers and directors from high school didn’t help him when he was trying to contact and apply to different schools so he had to do the full process by himself. Luis had to take the TOEFL exam to proof his English level as well as taking the SAT to get access into the university. Apart from this two tests he had to transit several paperwork and forms through an application called CommonApp that helped him contact the universities and with the applying process through an online profile. Once Luis was accepted he was able to process the visa F1 that allowed him to enter the country. During his first year of university he received a scholarship but for the rest of the years he had to pay the loans and tuition from his own pocket.
Leaving your own country to go study abroad and start a new life is never easy and not everyone can do it. Luis decided to take the risk even if at the beginning it was not easy for him. Getting used to the American lifestyle was the hardest. Meeting people was also challenging because Americans usually don’t have an open mentality and it’s hard for them to establish and form new relationships due to not being used to get out of their comfort zone. The first couple months were tough basically because you miss your family, friends, food, town and your lifestyle overall. New changes and opportunities are never easy at the beginning but you have to be patient because at the end it will be worth it.
During his experience, Luis tells us that the main differences between Spain and US are the time frames and schedules. Usually everything in Spain is later than in the US either when eating meals, going to bed or hanging out with friends. People in America are rushing throughout the day to be able to rest at night and go to bed early. In general, Americans are good educated and have good manners but they are not usually open minded. Talking about education, the American system is pretty competitive, students aren’t just looking to pass their classes and exams they try to do as minimum errors as possible. On the other hand, Spanish students are satisfied with just passing. Another main difference is the campus lifestyle. In the US students live daily with their friends at school but in Spain, students leave home with their families and drive or ride every day to school what it would be the equivalent to commit in the US.
Once Luis graduates, he wants to stay in the US to keep studying or working in order to gain more experience because he thinks that if he moves home he won’t have many opportunities. In a future he would like to move back to Spain or either to another country. He is open to anything anywhere of the world.
If you are that person that is trying to study abroad in the US Luis and many other students recommend you 100% to make the decision. It is a great experience where you will live the true American dream and you are going to experience something completely new and different than if you stay home that will be so beneficial at the end of your career. Either if you want to leave for a semester, a year or a whole school career going abroad will help you as a professional level as well as a personal level.
A funny story that Luis wants to share is that he can proof the stereotype that Americans are uncluttered with geography. He has been in many encounters where he tries to explain where he comes from and they just think that Spain is in south America.