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  • Writer's pictureHumans of International Studies

JULIAN (2nd Year)

“I’ve always been into writing. Growing up, writing in Spanish was a given because despite technically being a native in English as well, I have always struggled with it. After all, the two languages always get jumbled in my head. Writing in English has allowed me to become better at it and has helped me in my essays and more. Yet, despite being happy with how I write, in terms of speaking, my Hispanic accent is still not good enough for many. Being a minority, I always had to look out for my English, and there is always the pressure that I might sound too foreign to others. “What should I say?” “How should I say it?” are questions that are always on my mind.

Honestly, I'm glad I grew up with more Spanish than English because I think the anglophone culture is much easier to assimilate to than the other way around. Yet in a way, I am part of both cultures and neither at the same time. Being a mixed person is a weird thing, after all, as my identity has always been a grey zone between my Dominican and American sides. In the Dominican Republic, I am white, and in the U.S and Europe, I’m a person of color. “Which one is it?” Frankly, I do not see myself as either, and it is really weird to explain, however, it always makes me feel like a foreigner.

Coming to Europe made me more open-minded in a sense. I grew a lot as a person, I’ve learned to consider new perspectives and ideas, and explored new topics along the way. Initially, it was hard to fit in, as some people, maybe out of ignorance, looked down on me because of where I come from. When I go out in the Netherlands, it has become a routine to be confused with someone from the Middle East, despite my accent. While bizarre, I’m genuinely glad I study here, and that I have had the opportunity to have lived and traveled to different parts of the world.” (Julian, 2nd year, Santo Domingo)

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