Mindful Expat Episode 43: Studying Abroad (Part 2): Developing Cultural Competence as an International Student (With Guest: Claudia Neiman)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Claudia Neiman!

Since moving away from the US at the age of 18 for school, Claudia has lived in Spain, Brazil, and Portugal. Although she has never actually lived in the UK, she has dual US/British citizenship, which lowers administrative hurdles to her living in the EU long-term, and she considers herself a global citizen. Rather than doing just a semester or year abroad, Claudia actually enrolled directly at the University of Grenada in Spain, where she completed her undergraduate degree in sociology. Still in Grenada, she is now working on her masters degree in teaching while also working as a researcher at the university there.

Claudia and her friend Dani (who we heard from in Part 1 of this series) started a website together called Sincerely Spain, where they share their experiences and insights on topics related to living in Spain and cultural adaptation for students studying abroad.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• Claudia’s experience of being an international student for the entirety of her undergraduate (and now graduate) studies and some of her observations about how this experience can differ from that of a student studying abroad for a single semester or year.

• Claudia’s experiences of transitioning from being a student to a young professional while living abroad.

• What is “cultural competence” and how can students studying abroad work to develop their own cultural competence during their time abroad.

• Some suggestions for current or prospective international students to help them develop their own cultural competence.

Resources mentioned in today’s episode:

• The motivational quote Claudia shared with us comes from the podcast, That’s So Retrograde.

• Claudia also recommended the YouTube channel, Yoga With Adrienne (which I have become totally obsessed with since our conversation, by the way!).

More about Claudia and how to follow up with her:

To learn more about Claudia, you can visit her website, Sincerely Spain, where she and her friend Dani share their experiences of studying and living abroad in Spain. (You can learn more specifically about Claudia here.)

Some articles on their website that you might find especially interesting after today’s discussion include this one about cultural competence, this one and this one (two-part series) on getting a degree abroad, and this one on culture shock.

Claudia and Dani also provide consulting services to students who are either currently studying abroad or planning to study abroad (especially in Spain, but elsewhere too). For more information about their consulting services, check out this page of their website.

You can also find Claudia on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and you can connect with her through this page of her website.

Stay in Touch!

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And, finally, if you’d like to get in touch and leave me a voice message with a question or comment that may be played in a future episode, you can do so here!

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