Soraida Morales - Spain Coordinator
Soraida was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and she lived there until the age of 21. She decided to move to Spain when she was 22 to continue her university studies, but she’s lived there ever since. When she isn’t coordinating programs for Linguistic Horizons, Soraida enjoys dancing, being outdoors, and of course, traveling.
What inspired you to pursue your education abroad in A Coruña, Spain?
Since I was a little girl, I knew that I wanted to open my mind and travel. I wanted to experience new things and places, either for tourism, education, work, or a combination of all three! It was, and still is, a goal that has been in my mind since I can remember. My parents traveled a lot because of their jobs and would always talk to me about how interesting and stimulating it was to get out of their comfort zone and experience cultures and places different from our own. They relayed the importance of learning other languages and being able to connect to people through languages. Thanks to them, I started learning English and became fluent at 18.
Later, as I enrolled in the university, I made it an objective to be able to experience studying or working abroad. A couple of years passed, and by that time my sister had already moved to La Coruña. She had fallen in love with the city and encouraged me to come, so when I had the opportunity to go abroad, I took it!
Growing up in Venezuela, then moving to Spain, you have experienced life on two very different continents. Why do you think studying abroad is such an important part of the educational experience?
It’s important because we live in a world that offers such rich and different cultures, ways of thinking, ways of doing things and living. It gives us the opportunity to expand our perspective, to challenge ourselves, to learn from others, to think differently and adapt, to be more open, and get to know so many amazing people. It broadens our own world and mind, and makes us better for it.
In my particular case, living in such different countries made me realize that I can, and should, always pursue and learn new things that allow me to improve myself. It has taught me that progress in our life and communities comes from within. Going abroad is always a good investment in yourself and it has given me the tools to appreciate the diversity that exists around me. I feel so lucky that I’ve had the chance to experience part of it. That being said, it also made me reflect about my own culture and upraising. I now further appreciate the experience of growing up in Venezuela.
What surprised you most about the local culture and way of life when you first moved to Spain?
Well, it was definitely a surprise, even though I am a native Spanish speaker, because of the accents, the common expressions,and the different ways of using the Spanish language; it made it so that at first I didn’t understand some of the things people said. It was a fun adaptation though.
Languages and their connection to culture is fascinating. I also found it very interesting that there are so many different customs, accents, cultures,and historic influences within the same country. You can travel to the neighboring autonomous region and be pleasantly surprised with such diversity. The best surprise was that no matter where you are in Spain, the food is delicious!
What makes A Coruña such a great study abroad destination?
A Coruña is a beautiful city. Because of the low influx of English speakers, as a city where you can improve your Spanish language skills, it’s more than perfect. You’ll truly immerse yourself into what not only the city, but the region has to offer: great food, a large coastal area, historic and cultural richness, nearby natural protected reservoirs that you can easily visit and enjoy, and of course, the chance for you to practice Spanish everyday.
How did you end up in your current role with Linguistic Horizons?
Nicole, the fof Linguistic Horizons, and I met when I was a student at the University of La Coruña. One of the past Linguistic Horizons summer program participants was my roommate. We eventually got to know each other better and realized we had a lot in common. Later, I ended up working with Linguistic Horizons as the Spain Coordinator!
What is your favorite part about working for Linguistic Horizons?
I get to work with amazing people doing something that I feel passionate about. We are constantly working to improve the programs and services we provide. I feel thrilled about meeting new people and making their experience abroad something they will treasure and bring them positive experiences as well as benefits, not only not for their career and studies, but in their life.
What is your best piece of advice for students considering studying abroad in Spain with Linguistic Horizons?
Go for it! Studying abroad is an experience all students should have. But not only that, with Linguistic Horizons you will have a unique opportunity to improve your Spanish language skills and also enjoy life in this great “off the beaten path” city.
What makes Linguistic Horizons stand out from other study abroad organizations?
I’d have to say that Linguistic Horizons provides destinations and programs options that no other company offers; it’s affordable and provides true language immersion.
How do you use your own international travel and study abroad experience to support Linguistic Horizons students?
I share their interest for learning a foreign language and encourage them to develop their skills as much as possible. Additionally, I understand what it feels to change to a setting that can be very different of what you are used to. So if needed, I support them any way I can so they get the most benefit possible out of their experience abroad!