Expanding his horizons

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Image of young man in front of a map of the world.

Daniel Denegri Estrada believes that life is best when you’re doing things that challenge your comfort level. He’s definitely not one to shy away from new experiences.  In 2017, he took part in a College-sponsored two-week field school in Tanzania. When the opportunity arose for him to embark on a full semester in the small European Principality of Andorra, situated between France and Spain, he was quick to apply.

“Spending an entire semester in Andorra is a fantastic opportunity to actually integrate myself in another culture,” he said. “Because the university there has exchange programs with a lot of other countries, it’s also a chance to meet people from all over Europe.”

Daniel will depart for Andorra on January 21 and will attend the University of Andorra until June 19. Through an agreement with the university, he will pay his regular tuition at College of the Rockies, but take elective courses at the university.

All of the classes Daniel will be taking will be taught in English, but Daniel hopes to leave the region with an ability to speak and understand the native language, Catalan.

“I grew up speaking Spanish with my mom and Catalan is very similar,” he said. “I hope to get a good understanding of the culture there and to learn how to communicate in their language.”

Andorra, situated in the Pyrenees Mountains, offers breathtaking beauty and an abundance of opportunities. Similar to our region, they have phenomenal ski resorts, and are known for their cycling and mountain biking. In Andorra, however, a two-hour train ride brings you to Barcelona, often considered one of the most beautiful cities on earth. The stunning Catalan coast is a mere three hours away. With weekends free, Daniel will have plenty of time to explore.

The International department at the College was instrumental in helping Daniel find scholarships to cover many of his travel costs. As rent and food in Andorra is similar in price to what one would pay in Cranbrook, his semester abroad should be highly affordable.

Daniel will be accompanied in Andorra by classmate, Sarah Clarricoates, and looks forward to having someone there to share the experience with.

“I am thankful that there isn’t a big group of people from Canada that will be there, though,” he said. “I want to experience the culture there as it is which means interacting and connecting with the locals in the area. It would be too easy to just assimilate into a larger group of Canadians if they were there. Having a partner there will provide a bit of home when I need it, though.”

Daniel’s field school experience in Tanzania has already impressed his current employer and he foresees the addition of a semester in Andorra as likely to enhance his career options.

“I plan to work in the financial field and Andorra, in spite of being such a tiny country, is a huge player in the European market,” he said. “I plan on building connections and once I’m done my degree, I could explore going to work there. I will have a better understanding of the culture and will hopefully know how to speak Catalan.”

We can’t wait to hear all about it. Wishing you a fantastic experience abroad, Daniel.