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January 5, 2010
Michelle Garcia, a senior with a double major in anthropology and French, spent a year studying in Ireland and traveling through Europe.
Michelle Garcia, a senior from Pueblo, in Ireland.
“I am the daughter of a single mother and a dead father, the sister of three brothers and one sister, and most importantly, a Garcia. My first name has played an insignificant role in my life so far; a Garcia is who I am and who I will always be. As Papa frequently reminded me, ‘You’re a Garcia, mi hija, and you should be proud.’
“Mama graduated from high school, and Papa dropped out during middle school. I attend college for them; they never had the opportunity to go. I am going to college for the Garcia name and for the smile it puts on Mama’s face.
“Ireland was my final study abroad destination because of Mama’s and Grandma’s heritage. I was raised in Pueblo, Colo., which has a large population of Hispanics, and Papa’s culture has always been represented in my life.
“My study abroad experience in Ireland is nothing like my American life. I am the only Garcia in each of my classes – culture shock! And the food … I have been living off chicken my entire stay in Ireland. There is a limited selection of Mexican food in Cork, Ireland.
“But Ireland is ‘good craic.’ The island is beautiful, the people are extremely nice, and the Irish language is grand.
“I was a Garcia before I left to Ireland, and now, I am a García, with the i fada (the fada is a diacritical mark found frequently in the Irish written language). I have lived, studied, and spoken like the Irish. I have taken Irish language courses at the University College of Cork, learned a simple Irish jig, and appreciated the days when it hasn’t rained. I have registered with the Irish Immigration Officials and am Irish (until September). Is maith liom Eireann; I love Ireland.
“Traveling gives a person independence, a chance to explore your limitations, and an opportunity to discover your hidden qualities. I will continue to travel after I have finished college. Madagascar is my dream destination. My two majors can be used there; I can speak French and use my anthropology major to hang out with the lemurs.”
Originally published in the College of Liberal Arts Newsletter, Fall 2009.