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ELC Santa Barbara
ELC - English Language Center Santa Barbara
Student Spotlight: Daniela Nieves April 23rd, 2015

Daniela Nieves has been studying full time at ELC Santa Barbara for one month.  She is from Venezuela and her first language is Spanish.

What part of Venezuela are you from?

I was born in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, but I grew up in El Tigre, which is a small town five hours from Caracas.

What is Venezuela like and how is it different from the U.S. in your experience?

Venezuela is very different from the U.S. The culture, music, food, and way of life are all different. The people tend to be more open and friendly in Venezuela. It may be because the weather is so nice there. It is summer all year and there are many beautiful beaches.

What is the food like in Venezuela? What is your favorite food to cook?

The food in Venezuela tends to be more homemade. We have a lot of big breakfasts. Breakfast is usually salty but never sweet. My favorite meal for breakfast in Venezuela is Empanadas. Empanadas are a common meal in all of South America but each country makes them a little bit different – with different flour, spices, and meats. In Venezuela we normally make Empanadas with beef, chicken, and cheese. Meal times in Venezuela are usually around 9 or 10am for breakfast, around 12pm for lunch, and around 7pm for dinner. My favorite dish to make though is Italian. I make Spaghetti Carbonara, which is spaghetti with Alfredo or pesto sauce and bacon.

What is your profession in Venezuela?

I graduated with a degree in Geological Engineering. I needed to learn English for my job because in Engineering you work with many international companies – often from Brazil, Japan, or the U.S. The companies will use English as a common language in order to communicate.  I wanted to study engineering because my dad was an oil engineer, so engineering was a familiar profession to me.

When did you first come to the U.S.?

I first came to the U.S. when I was staying in Mexico with my dad. He lives in a small town near the border between Mexico and the U.S. I would come to the U.S. to go shopping. About a year ago I went to Florida with my friend for three weeks. We went to Miami, Orlando, Disney World, and Universal Studios.

How long have you been studying English?

I’ve been studying English in Santa Barbara since January. I was studying in EF and one month ago I came to ELC. I have enjoyed studying at ELC because there are very few Spanish speakers so it forces me to speak English. I have enjoyed learning English here in Santa Barbara. I have grown in confidence and even though I make mistakes I don’t mind because I always learn from them. The more I practice the more my English improves.  I have really enjoyed being in the U.S. at a language school because I have been able to learn about all the different cultures of the world. The people I have met have taught me something about where they are from.

What are your dreams for your life?

I would like to get married and have a family. I would also like to have a good job and eventually stay in one place since now I am traveling so much. I would love to live in Europe or the U.S.

When you have free time what do you like to do for fun?

I like to go out with friends, go to the beach, and explore new places. I like finding new restaurants that I haven’t tried yet.

Daniela Student Spotlight

Daniela student spotlight Santa Barbara