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Sergio Bernal

University of Córdoba, Spain

Sergio Bernal

Sergio is an international student in every the sense of the word. Since he was very young Sergio had an interest in internationalism. At the age of 7, he started studying English and during his first year in the University of Córdoba, he began learning German. Sergio worked as a waiter to pay for his university education. He also saved some of his money to travel during the summer to English and German speaking countries in order to practice and study these languages. As of today, Sergio has been to 20 different countries, and he is not only fluent in English, German, and Spanish, but also knows some French.

Sergio graduated from the University of Córdoba, on June 2009, with a major in translation. During the third semester of his junior year, he spent a semester in Scotland as an Erasmus student. After his college graduation, he had the honor to get internship as a translator for the European Parliament in Brussels, and then went to live in Germany, for 14 months, to continue studying German.

After spending a year in Germany, Sergio found out through the University of Córdoba about an opportunity, offered by PRESHCO (Programa de Estudios Hisp├ínicos en Córdoba), a study abroad consortium in which Smith College is participating, to study for a year in the United States. Sergio's excellent qualifications allowed him to win the scholarship offered by this program.

Although Sergio has had many experiences going abroad, it is still difficult for him to be away from his family for a second year. As the only AMS male student this year, he finds it strange to be surrounded entirely by women. He states that although none of these women say it, they see him as an oddity as if saying "You are a guy, what are you doing here?" Even though this happens often he states, "I am having a good time here. I would do this again because this is the biggest thing that has happened to me." At Smith he not only found good friends, especially with the other international students, but also wonderful people, like the AMS staff and professors who are really supportive.

While at Smith, Sergio is working on his thesis on the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, focusing on the identity and linguistics of this region and on the process of Americanization. Sergio's goals for his time at Smith include: writing a good thesis, learning a lot, and taking advantage of this opportunity. Currently, he actively collaborates with the Spanish department. After his year in the U.S. he plans to go back to Spain to obtain a Ph.D. either in Social linguistics, Linguistics or Sociology, to later become a professor.

By Marichuy Gomez '14, Global STRIDE Fellow

As part of the Global STRIDE fellowship, the fellows interviewed and profiled international students in the college's graduate program in American Studies, to help familiarize them with people who have made cultural transitions.