A Multicultural Life

ID # 3709

Europe, United Kingdom

My name is Ariana Rodriguez-Gitler. I was born and raised in Maryland, but whenever someone asks me where I’m from there’s a moment where I don’t know what to say. My family history is a little complicated, even though my own is simple. For the most part, my mom’s side of the family lives in Mexico by way of Poland three generations back, and my dad’s family lives in Puerto Rico. At times it can get complicated explaining how I am both Jewish and Hispanic.

Over the years, I’ve been very fortunate to be able to spend lots of time in both Mexico and Puerto Rico, visiting my family and immersing myself in the cultures that I belong to.

Though English is my first language, I’ve grown up in a bilingual environment and can say that my understanding of Spanish is near native even if my speaking abilities fluctuate depending on where and with whom I spend time. In college I used my understanding of Spanish to help me study a little French.

Because of my own multicultural background, I’ve always been interested in exploring other culture and languages. In high school I spent three weeks in England, the Republic of Ireland and Wales with People to People as a student ambassador.

Two years later, I did a student exchange with a school in the suburbs outside of Madrid, Spain. Over the two weeks that my exchange students stayed with me in Maryland and the two weeks that I spent in Spain with them, I made great friends and had my eyes opened to another Spanish-speaking culture.

In college, when the opportunity to study abroad came, I jumped at the chance to go back to Madrid for a summer and learn even more about Spanish culture. I spent the summer taking classes in Spanish and exploring all the country. I also spent a lot of time with the friends I had made during my exchange trip in high school.

I hope that my multicultural background as well as my experience abroad will bring a unique perspective to Carolina Navigators this fall.

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Ariana Rodriguez-Gitler

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