Diana Martinez Herrero - Author InterviewLearn more the author
What started out as an adventure to Ireland to study English became a globetrotting experience for Diana Martinez Herrero. Now living in Logroño, Spain, Diana has already traveled to other countries in Europe, North America, and the Latin America.
"It is just the fact of seeing this world so big that I cannot stay in just one place for the rest of my life missing great opportunities, cultures and people."
Why did you choose Ireland to study English? What was it in Ireland that interested you over other English-speaking nations such as United States or the United Kingdom?
I did not have any preference but my parents knew some people who lived in Dublin, and since I was only 15 years old, they wanted to have someone to turn to just in case I needed help while being abroad alone.
What were some of the biggest things you learned in Ireland aside from the English language? Did you learn any words in Gaelic, the country's native language?
When I think of Ireland I think of it as the starting point of my adventurous life. I obviously learnt the Irish culture and the hospitality of the Dubliners; however, the most important thing to me was the fact of being able to learn the real value of getting to know other countries, other cultures, languages and people - the importance of being open-minded and curious everything. This is such a vast world that is out there not to be just there but to be explored.
How has your study abroad experience in Ireland been helpful when you traveled to the United States and the United Kingdom?
Ireland allowed me to gain fluency and confidence when speaking English. Before travelling to the Irish territory I had only learnt English in an academy and had not had the chance to actually use it with native speakers. Being able to communicate and to express myself in another language as I did in Ireland helped me to become more extrovert and talkative - characteristics that helped me a lot when going to the USA and to the UK.
You also visited countries in Latin America, including Brazil and Costa Rica. What were the steps you took in order to immerse with the locals in these countries?
I always wanted to visit Latin America since I had always being attracted to that culture for many reason - the sweet accent, the welcoming society and their ways of enjoying every minute of life; that is why I looked for opportunities to work and volunteer abroad. I sent my CV to many organizations in many Latin American countries and only two answered - CPI in Costa Rica in 2010 and Casa do Caminho in Brazil in 2012. They gave me several interviews on Skype and told me I was accepted. They took care of all the necessary documents; I must say it was a pretty easy process and was very lucky with those organizations. In less than two months after the interviews I was taking off.
How did you cope with shifting from one language instruction to another? (from Spanish to English to Portuguese)
I always loved learning new languages and that helped me a lot. When you are very interested in something, it becomes easier to accomplish. Being a native Spanish speaker helped me learning French and Italian some years ago. Portuguese has been the last language I have learnt, and thanks to sharing the origin with the other languages I already knew, it did not take too long to learn it; although I must say it is not as similar as I thought it would be.
As an experienced traveler, what are the tips you can give to aspiring globetrotters to prepare them for adaptation to a new culture?
I think everything depends on the attitude. When you travel abroad you should go because you want to and because you are really excited it. If you have any kind of regret of doubt, it's better not to go or change destination. Furthermore, it is very important to have in mind that everything will be new and that does not mean that it is bad; it will be just different - we just need to see the positive side and the beauty of it. When adopting a positive attitude and interest, any obstacle becomes easier to overcome.
What motivates you to continue traveling?
I sometimes think I have an obsession. :) It is just the fact of seeing this world so big that I cannot stay in just one place for the rest of my life missing great opportunities, cultures and people. I am not afraid because I never think of bad things happening but as surprises awaiting.
How have your experiences abroad shaped your career goals?
Travelling abroad has shaped my career goals completely. If I had not gone to Ireland, I don't think I had tasted that great flavour of discovering new things and studying the degrees I have studied. Now I work for an international company where I have to make use of 5 languages and I have co-created an educational NGO Living Your Dream that is present in several countries.
You've been to several countries in Europe and the Americas. Do you have plans of checking out the other continents of the world in the near future? What's the next destination on your list?
I would like to go to Thailand or the Philippines, I know some people from there and I find them so inspiring and full of energy; I am still thinking it though. However, I see myself going back to Latin America again since there is where I was the happiest. I think I was born on the wrong side of the Atlantic Ocean :) Peru and Chile are two of my options; but I will keep you posted :)