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Aye's Abundant Trips

Chefchaouen, Morocco

Aye Diallo is a Senior Political Science & Economics double major from Austell, GA attending Howard University. Her study abroad experience has been different from others. She's been traveling since September 2017! Check out my interview with her as she shares her experiences in the Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Morocco, currently Costa Rica and many more places! I hope you all enjoy!

Fatou: Where are you currently studying abroad and how long have you been there? Aye: I’m currently in San Jose, Costa Rica. I started my abroad experience in September of 2017. I started out in London, but I was based in Barcelona, Spain. I traveled to a few more countries while I was out there. Switzerland. Southern Spain. Amsterdam. Germany. Czech Republic. To travel in Europe, if you do it right, it’ll be cheap. We would stay in hostels. I stayed in a hostel in Prague, Czech Republic. (A hostel is like a dorm room.) It can be 4 people to 16 people. The bathrooms are basically like the ones in the Quad (all female freshmen dormitory at Howard). They would provide breakfast, free walking tours, etc.

Fatou: Have you been out of the country before this current trip? Aye: I went to Ghana through YAALI. I’ve been to Guinea, which is where my parents are from. I also traveled to Paris.

Fatou: What type of classes are you taking over there? Aye: Currently, I’m taking an intense level of Spanish and LTGBTQ+I, it’s like sexual diversity in Latin America.

Fatou: Is it difficult not being able to speak the native language and travel abroad? Aye: I took some Spanish in Barcelona, but in San José it's very intense. We're taking 4 hours of Spanish every day.

Costa Rica

Fatou: If you recall, how was your first day being in Barcelona and San José? Aye: My first day in Barcelona, was very jet lagged. Georgia to London with a 2-day layover and then we traveled to Barcelona. I met my 4 other roommates and went over the house rules. In Costa Rica, we had an immigration issue at the airport so I got to my host family like 5 hours later. I was really nervous. It’s always very different traveling when you’re a person of color.

Fatou: As a black woman traveling abroad, why is this trip important for you? Aye: Starting off in Spain and just being able to travel in so many countries made me in awe. I don’t do this for myself. I do this for other little girls who want to travel. It gets very lonely though. Many days, I’ve had to call up my mom and my best friend.

Fatou: What’s the nightlife like there? Aye: It’s very different but it’s cool. They always have ladies’ night. People go to the bars first and then to the club. People stay out until like 5am or 6am. In Costa Rica, people are not as intrigued to see black women as opposed to Spain.

Fatou: What do you miss the most about America? Aye: The people. However, being abroad, I’m not constantly reminded about my skin tone.

Fatou: What do you miss the least about Howard? Aye: The emphasis on being part of organizations. Somewhere along the lines, some of us have lost ourselves. Out here in other countries, people aren't worried about certain things.

Fatou: What’s the food like? Aye: Pasta wise, Milan. Seasoning wise, Morocco. They’re rich in spices. You definitely taste the difference. I went to a Burger King out here and the meat tasted so fresh. Sometimes, the meat is so fresh it tastes weird to me.

Fatou: Would you consider living there post-graduation? Aye: I would definitely go back to Barcelona. In certain places, people make ignorant comments or teachers may not like me because of the color of my skin. Sometimes, it felt like I was constantly fighting to be here. It wasn’t just given to me, I earned this. You’re no longer in that safe haven when you study abroad. Sometimes, these conversations can get uncomfortable when it comes to race. Still, it needs to be more people to studying abroad.

Fatou: Dating scene? Aye: Honestly, I don’t know. But when I go to a bar or a club, guys are open to talking or flirting.

Fatou: If there is one piece of advice you could offer, what would it be? Aye: I have three pieces to offer. First, for the ladies, bring all of your hair products. Any type of product that you think you might need, bring it. Put it in your checked bag. Second, if you do study abroad, do not just speak to the black people you see. Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable. People have completely different perspectives. Be uncomfortable. And last, while you’re in different countries, travel as much as you can.

Costa Rica

For more study abroad experiences, visit my site every day this week. Tomorrow, see what's going down in London town with Adriana!

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