My name’s Gal Benzadon and I’m a fourth-year student in the Bachelor in Communication and Digital Media. Like many IE University students, I grew up in a very diverse world.
I have Polish, Russian, and Moroccan roots, but my parents are Argentine. My family is spread around the world in Argentina, Israel, France, and the United States, and I was born and raised in Colombia. So what is diversity for me? Diversity is my life and the world I have always known.
I spent my early childhood in Bogotá, Colombia until I was fourteen years old when I moved to São Paulo, Brazil. Two years later, I moved to Madrid, Spain and finished high school here. I spent my gap year in Israel and then decided to come back to Spain to do my bachelor’s degree.
Naturally, I chose IE University, as it’s the most diverse place to study and to feel part of a community. In my eyes, diversity is something that seeps into every area, as it’s becoming an increasingly present part of our daily lives.
Diversity as nationality, culture and background
If someone asked me what my nationality is, I’d have several answers. I would be considered what they call a “third-culture kid,” which is someone who is raised in a culture different from that of their parents or their country of nationality.
For example, I grew up in South America—a very different life from the one I’m living right now. This experience made me who I am today. I learned a lot about Latinx culture (I love Colombian food like arepas). I also love traveling around Colombia and seeing all the different landscapes and towns. Latinx culture is so open, with a great vibe that makes you feel part of it.
I had the same experience in Brazil. I had the chance to learn about Brazilian culture, which is completely different from mine but with that same Latinx vibe. I enrolled in an international school, and the diversity there was palpable. People from all around the world came together and exchanged cultures, which ultimately helps us grow and learn about others.
I arrived in Brazil without knowing any Portuguese; however, once you get to live there you make the most of it, and in three months I was able to speak Portuguese perfectly. Two years later, I moved to Madrid and adapted to the European culture. Spanish identity seems to be a mix of European and Latinx culture.
Two years later, I graduated from the International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. The IB is an excellent example of diversity: there are IB schools all over the world, with students studying the same way and taking the same exams but in extremely different contexts. This just shows how diverse the world is and how we can coexist.
After graduating, I went to Israel for my gap year, where I also had the chance to meet people from all around the world and prepare myself for the next chapter of my life: coming to IE University.
Diversity and connection at IE University
After living in different countries around the world, learning new things, exploring different religions, and feeling like a true world citizen, I arrived at IE University—one of the most diverse places in the world! Here you can meet people from 130+ nationalities and speak to them in 45+ languages on campus. I get to see the world from every angle.
My Bachelor in Communication and Digital Media class has students just like me, with diverse backgrounds and stories. The class is full of people with different worldviews and opinions, which we can learn about and respect as we go. This means we don’t just get to learn about the academic subject matter, but also different cultures’ take on it. It becomes a comprehensive learning experience.
Studying at IE University gives me the chance to truly feel part of our diverse world. This diversity can be seen in the various nationalities, backgrounds, languages, cultures, religions, opinions and more. It is a unique and eye-opening experience that allows you to really connect with and learn from others—beginning on your first day of class up until the day you graduate.