By: Hunter Boschert
Mercedes Lejos was born in Hungry and then moved to the Canary Islands in Spain with her family when she was 12. Her family still lives on the island of Tenerife. Lejos attends the University of Salamanca, where she is a sophomore studying foreign languages and international studies.
People use to call Tenerife the “Island of Forever Spring” because of the year-around beautiful weather. In the winter, the island is beautiful because people are on the beach on one side, and the mountains have snow on the other side. Tenerife is also home to Siam Park, the world’s best waterpark.
Q: What is an interesting fact about you?
A: I am fluent in seven languages: Hungarian, English, Spanish, French, German, Russian and Italian.
Q: How is college different here from university in Spain?
A: The biggest difference is that here professors tell you what you have to do. In Spain, we go to the lectures and take notes and then you just have a final exam. There are no grades during the semester. Also, in Salamanca, the university bleeds into the city; it is not a designated area with an arch like Bellarmine.
Q: What is your favorite U.S. city?
A: New York, so far. I really enjoyed the buildings, as the skyscrapers are simply amazing. There are so many people in the streets. It is like no other place I have been before.
Q: Why did you choose to come to the States and more specifically Bellarmine?
A: One of my dreams was to study in the United States. I don’t know why, but I always wanted to. Bellarmine was my first choice because the classes I can take here are very similar to the ones I take in Salamanca.
Q: Is the U.S. what you expected it to be like?
A: Yes, I think so. I knew everything was going to be much bigger and it is. The cars are much bigger, the streets are much bigger and the portions are much bigger. Also, the American accent is exactly what I though it would be like.
Q: What is the strangest social custom you have noticed?
A: When I arrived at the airport the international instructor picked me up and I tried to do the customary two kisses, one on each check. I quickly realized this is not customary in the United States.
Q: What is the weirdest American food you have found?
A: Hot chicken and waffles. I have never had that before, and it is still very strange to me.
Q: What food do you miss from home?
A: Spanish tortillas. Spanish foods replicated here just are not the same authentic thing I am used to.
Q: What was your biggest challenge getting here?
A: The flight from Europe to here was very long and difficult. Also, once I arrived here, I had not spoke English for over a year so it took awhile to start conversing in English again.