If there’s something that IE university is known for, it is its high level of diversity, which is reflected every day in its students. Students from different backgrounds and nationalities find ways to make themselves comfortable in a new environment, away from what they have always known. Sometimes, in order to do that, students that share a culture or nationality come together to share it with each other, while other times, they choose to celebrate it with others to show and to share with people they love that they have met away from home.
One of these moments has arrived during this windy and cloudy October: Halloween. As someone who has lived most of her entire life in Spain, I must say that, once you grow up, Halloween is not really a big deal anymore. When you’re a kid, you go trick or treating with your friends and you dress up as whatever TV character you’re obsessed with at the time, but, as you get older, you stop doing these things, because they are not really important anymore.
In a city like Segovia, if you spend one day walking through the streets, you will see that, besides university students, the rest of the people are mostly part of the elderly, or tourists who come to spend the day, that have either grown up in the city or are trying to look for a quiet and peaceful life away from the big cities, like Madrid or Barcelona. Knowing this, it can’t come as a surprise that the 31st of October in Segovia is just another normal day, right? Well, it would be if it weren’t for the impact that IE has had on the city’s international celebrations.
Segovia’s Halloween celebration does not limit itself to one day, it lasts for, at least, four or five days, and decorations can be seen from the beginning of the month. Students come up with at least three different costumes that they will switch from for each different Halloween party they go to, which is what gives birth to “Halloweekend,” when the celebrations start on the weekend before the actual holiday. Stores like the famous “Duck Store” or “Flying Tiger” and bars like “Aloha,” fill their spaces with skeleton figurines, fake spiderwebs or bat stickers, and fruit stores will even set out their pumpkins with triangles for eyes and mouths painted on them. Of course, these stores will take advantage of the season and promote offers related to Halloween to attract their younger clientele.
Halloween for the elderly is not something to celebrate, but IE’s university students have brought life to the holiday in Segovia. Motivating people and store owners to celebrate it as well, making sure that, whatever traditions they have grown up with, they can bring them to this new city that they are living in during their university years.
Additionally, IE gives us the spaces and resources for us to have the opportunity to celebrate however we want to. With the ability to create different clubs and events, like the Fashion’s Club event of a “Halloween Photo Shoot,” where they help anyone who’s interested dress up and get their makeup done in a “spooky style,” to have professional photographers capture their Halloween spirit.
Lastly, stepping away from the celebration of Halloween, the celebration of Oktoberfest is another great example of IE students’ impact on cultural diversity in Segovia during the month of October. Oktoberfest is a German tradition, and except for really touristic cities, like Barcelona, it is not celebrated in Spain. However, this year, in Segovia, there were many bars which set out to celebrate this tradition, with decorations, good drinks, good food, and good music. The German Society, another club led and managed by IE students, also put it on themselves to make an amazing Oktoberfest event, as an attempt to share their culture, their traditions and their celebrations with friends and other people who have never celebrated such a holiday.
Personally, I believe that, without the cultural diversity that IE brings to the small city of Segovia, some holidays would simply be a lot more boring, or slowly stop existing. While Segovians definitely bring their own Spanish culture and holidays into the mix, Halloween would not be the same without the cultural diversity that international students bring to the city. So go pick a costume, grab your closest friends, and I’ll see you at the next party!