For Manuela Concha, coming to IE University was a daunting step to take. Hailing from Colombia, pursuing an ambitious dual degree at IE University meant moving to a new continent and waving goodbye to her family.
Now, won over by Segovia’s stunning views and small-town charm, Manuela has quickly settled into her new life, forming friendships that have become an on-campus family.
We talked to Manuela about making the transition to university living and the challenges she faced along the way. From the supportive Latin American community in Segovia to the student lifestyle she’s come to love, Manuela has truly found her place at IE University.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Manuela, I’m from Colombia, and I’m studying Dual Degree in Business Administration + Data & Business Analytics at IE University. I am currently living in Segovia, which is about an hour away from Madrid. I share a small apartment with my best friend, about a 10-minute walk from campus.
How was the transition from your home country to Segovia?
Changing to a lifestyle that is completely different from the one I was used to back in Colombia was definitely a process. Of course, it was incredibly hard to leave my family and everything I knew behind, but I was enthusiastic about what was to come. Living with my best friend was a really good help for me, and the Latin community here has been an amazing support. It felt like bringing a part of my home to this unknown small town—which later became my home.
In my first months, it certainly took me some time to adjust to the fact that I didn’t have my family near, and I suddenly had so much responsibility on my shoulders. With time, I became more aware of how amazing this responsibility was. It gave me a key to feeling a sense of freedom and self-responsibility.
As an international student, how did you adapt to life in Spain?
Thanks to the fact that there are no language barriers, adjusting to Spain was pretty easy. Plus, living in a community that is so international and globalized has been really exciting. I’ve met incredible people who are all going through exactly the same process as I am.
What are some of the best moments that you’ve experienced in Spain so far?
This place has already given me so many memories with friends—friends who have become family in the past few months. Thanks to the small campus size, we are able to see each other on a daily basis and we’re never too far from our homes, which is great when you need to grab something from a friend’s house or just want to hang out.
For me, the magic is in the small details, like having a coffee with an amazing view of the aqueduct after a long day of class with a group of friends, chatting about our day, and making travel plans together. Segovia is breathtaking, and it’s the perfect place to make memories with friends.
What’s the Latin American community like at IE University, and how has this community helped you to adapt?
As I mentioned, the Latin American community has been an amazing support for me. Although getting to know people from all around the globe is enriching, having people that you can share inside jokes with or lean on when you’re feeling homesick is a huge comfort. They have all been super supportive when any one of us is going through a tough time. Even when we meet with others and the first question after a “Hello” is “Where do you come from?”, if they answer with a country in Latin America, we’ll automatically click and become instant friends.
Any advice for future Latin American students interested in coming to study in Spain at IE University?
Don’t be scared about following your dreams, no matter how physically far away they may take you from the place you call home. Each and every student finds a home here, and we are all happy to support them. In order to seize these amazing opportunities and student lifestyle, you have to jump into the unknown—but the best experiences come from stepping out of your comfort zone. Take the leap, and we will receive you with a warm hug and some tapas as you get started on this wonderful journey.
Dive into student life in Segovia and Madrid, and discover the stories of more international IE University students.