Today's post is a Question and Answer with José Navarro, a business student from Spain studying at Berkeley College in New York City. This isn't his first experience studying abroad, as he spent some time attending university in Tallinn, Estonia. José authors the blog JoseNavarroNYC, where he shares his experiences being a student in one of the most exciting cities in America. Judging by his posts, he's made a lot of friends in New York City, and also can make a mean paella.
Student Union: What inspired you to start a blog?
I used to read travel blogs when I was a teenager. I found it fascinating to read stories of people living abroad. When I started traveling, I started blogging about the experiences and I enjoyed it a lot. Once I moved to New York, I applied for a position as blogger at my school, Berkeley College, and I got it! It has been great, because I attend blogger trainings with other Berkeley bloggers and they helped me develop a lot of skills and improve my site.
Are there any other blogs or websites out there you were modeling yours on, or is it wholly your own creation?
I try to blog about a variety of topics, including anything that has to do with the experience of living in New York City, being an international student or simply living abroad. I use a lot of blogs and websites for reference when I need information about restaurants, places or whatever I'm writing about.
I also try to differentiate my blog from other by not trying to be a guide about the city. I want it to be a story that people can relate to. I want to write for people who want to know what it is like to live in NYC and go through an experience like this.
You’ve studied in several countries – what do you get out of international travel? And what would you say to someone thinking about coming to study here in the US or another nation?
I am very passionate about traveling. Studying abroad has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had. It has enhanced my education and it has allowed me to understand the world a little better. I think it's the best way to get to know cultures, not only from the host country, but from all the people you meet and the friends you make along the way.
I would encourage anyone who is thinking about it to really try it! It can be tough at times and it requires an extra effort, but it all pays off.
You’ve got a pretty positive outlook. Has international study ever been difficult, and if so, how did you dig yourself out?
This is my fifth year living abroad, and now I feel like I'm home, but it wasn't always like that. It takes time to adapt to a new place, because studying abroad means living abroad for longer than a vacation trip. Sometimes I did get nostalgic, or had to overcome challenges that seem bigger when you're far from home. However, the outcome has always been great and rewarding. I met great people here that became like a family to me and they are what makes me feel home. I also keep in touch with my loved ones back home. I Skype with my family very often and speak a lot with my friends even if we're far from each other.
What are some of the more memorable adventures you’ve had, and what are you still wanting to do while you’re here?
I've had a lot of memorable moments here and it would be a very long list! It would definitely include sailing around the Hudson river at night, skydiving with my friends, the induction ceremony at the Berkeley College honors society, visiting my family by surprise after a long time away, and my experience at the Model United Nations program.
There are a lot of things I still want to do here. I really want to travel to other cities and explore the country a little bit more. Also I want to take advantage of all the learning opportunities I have here beyond school, like internship programs and workshops.