Starting My New Life as a First-Year University Student in Segovia


September 13, 2021, was my first day at the Segovia campus of IE University. I had visited Madrid’s previous campus on Calle María de Molina in August of 2020, and had only stepped foot into the convent-turned-campus two days prior to my first day. Come rain or shine, I was thrilled by the prospects of starting university, just not in Segovia fundamentally.

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One of my first dinners in Segovia

I was not forced, per se, to attend the Segovia campus, as my degree offers the Madrid route too; however my parents and I thought it would be best for me. We thought starting my bachelor’s degree in Segovia would offer a culturally awakening experience. I had visited Segovia, to my recollection, only once before in 2017, but really could not remember much of it.

I’d like to tell you a bit about myself. I was born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland, and always attended international school. Henceforth, I have been privileged to be surrounded by a myriad of cultures my whole life, and therefore switching over to IE University was not such a drastic change, the way it may have been for some.

However, like many at IEU too, I am a Third Culture Kid, or TCK. This means I was raised in a culture that differs from the cultures my parents were raised in or come from. I had two distinct cultures in my household: that of the United States and Spain. My father comes from Madrid, and I know the city quite well, having visited it multiple times a year during my childhood.

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Weekend breakfast in Madrid

Moving to Spain offered only a few major changes in my life; after all, it’s one of the countries that form part of my cultural identity. However I wouldn’t be located in the city I know and love. So this was one thing to learn: not only adapting to Segovia, but also learning to love it. Let me tell you, this didn’t take very long as I started to make friends and enjoy my classes.

I chose to move into a residence in order to meet others from my year group, and not kick-start my new life as an isolated and lonely child. Very fortunately, my best friend, from Geneva, Tatyana, also came to IEU’s Segovia campus and we both live in the same residence. To be quite frank, I had never really had to share anything, excluding the house I live in with my parents and dog, so I feared what that would be like. Thankfully, I love my life at the residence and would not have traded it for living in an apartment my first year of university.

While sharing this topic with my friends Tatyana and Karl (also TCKs raised in Geneva), they told me that Segovia made them realize and appreciate different cultures and ways of life, different from the “bubble” we experienced growing up.

Moving to Spain was a drastic change because it was the first time I had ever moved and switched schools; however, it was not too harsh as I am half Spanish. Though I must say, Segovia has shown me another face of what true Spanish culture is like. Tasting suckling pig for the first time, getting used to meriendas and overall being in a place where most locals only speak Spanish. I have also furthered my independence, which in turn, has allowed me to appreciate the friendships and relationships I left behind in my highschool life, and at home in Geneva.

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Halloween party in Segovia

Sofia Renard Kerkoc
Sofia Renard Kerkoc
Bachelor in Communication and Digital Media (third-year Madrid). I’m Swiss-Spanish-American and I am interested in fashion journalism, art, and luxury marketing!

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