Alumna follows her dream to Spain

November 23, 2011

By Laura Weidner ’11

After graduating college and receiving a diploma you have one of the hardest decisions to make. Up until this point in your life you have everything planned out. You know that you will graduate from high school and will then go straight to college. After graduating college there is not a certain path that you must pursue. Having the freedom to do whatever I wanted after graduating from Bradley University was both liberating and stressful, because I was given the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone for the first time.

Thanks to Bradley’s intimate campus atmosphere I was able to have many leadership positions, which helped me develop the skills needed for life after college. I learned to be independent, how to be a better leader and, most importantly, I discovered what I wanted in life. Bradley challenged me to be my own, unique individual. In my classes I was not known as a number, I was known by my first and last name. When it was time to decide what I wanted to do post-graduation I decided to challenge myself even more. I decided to move to Spain to live and teach for a year.

I am a culture and language assistant at a bilingual high school in a town 10 miles south of Seville, Spain. I teach the students English in various classes, including gym, music, science and math. I love going into work each day because I know that I am helping students improve their English language skills – word by word, day by day. Having personally experienced the difficulties and frustrations of learning a second language, helping my students improve their English is very fulfilling.

Living in a foreign country has been a humbling experience for me. I believe it is important for everyone to see what it is like to live in the minority. When you are the minority your world is completely different. Not only do you have to deal with the language barrier, you have to adjust to different cultural customs. In Spain I’ve become accustomed to taking midday siestas (naps) and eating dinner after nine at night. Overall, life here is much slower paced. While some of the lifestyle changes have been hard to get used to, it has all been well worth it and a good learning experience for me.

I thank Bradley for challenging me to become a stronger individual. That ultimately led me to Spain, where I’m living my dream.