“Hi! My name is Christine, I’m 30 years old and I’m from the Philippines. I studied English Literature and currently I’m working in a school in Madrid. My plan is to continue with my studies and get another degree here in Spain. I had never visited Spain before, as the matter of fact I had never been in Europe. I have been living in the Philippines for my whole life: It’s a bit difficult to travel from my country and people usually visit nearby places with less restrictions in terms of visa (that’s why my first trip was to Singapore). The United States for example are close to the Philippines, and it’s a common destination among Filipinos; we have a similar school system, we have all the american brands, it’s a common holiday destination and many people have moved there for good. But my case was different, because I have always been more interested in Europe. Europe is huge, with so many different cultures, while I was still deciding what to do my poetry teacher convinced me to choose Spain. Religion is an important difference between the two countries: seems to me that here it’s something more related to the culture, while in the Philippines it really represents something also in the public sphere (and almost everybody are practitioners). Gastronomy is another difference: our food is spicier, and rice together with soy are essential in our diet (we have rice also for breakfast, guess that it’s the equivalent of bread for Spanish people). Before coming here, my expectations were somehow influenced by what I was saying before about the US; the west is the west, so I just assumed that Spain would have offered same US brands and style (I was surprised when no 7-eleven was around!) But, it’s something that I appreciate because it reminds me that distinguishing European diversity. Snow was a big expectation, accomplished last year in Madrid. It’s been hard to get used to the climate (I had never experienced the seasons change before) or to the subway, but I have found almost the same kindness that I had back home. The quality of life that Spain is offering me, makes me want to stay here for good, which of course makes me feel sorry because the Philippines has become like my holiday’s destination to visit my family and friends.”