Q&A: Lucia Corral ’22 on Moving from Spain to Boston


Lucia Corral ’22 poses in Madrid, Spain. Photo courtesy of Corral.

The Gator recently sat down with international student Lucia Corral ’22 to learn about her experience moving from Spain to Boston and her initial impressions of the new atmosphere here at the School.

Where are you from in Spain?

I’m from Madrid, from a town called Majadahonda, 20 minutes away from the city. However, I was born in León, a city in northern Spain, where I lived for the first two years. After that, my family and I moved to Vigo in northern Spain and the city where my mom is from, where we lived for one more year before finally moving to Madrid.

To be honest, I am in love with the city; I think it is one of the best cities I have ever been to, although maybe I am being a little bit biased. It has beautiful architecture, history, gastronomy, a lot of day and nightlife, different neighborhoods you can explore depending on your mood, and an excellent public transportation system, which I appreciate. People are super open and have a killer sense of style too!

Were you excited to move to the United States?

I was really excited when my dad told me we would move to the United States. Up to that point, I had lived in the same town and had attended the same school since I was three years old. I felt the burnout of the routine, so I knew a change could be good for me. I would miss my friends, but I also wanted to meet new people, have new experiences, and improve my English, so I never had any doubts or saw any negative outcomes about the move.

Where did you hear about the School?

I heard of Brimmer thanks to a girl who worked with relocated families in my dad’s company. She was the one who helped me find schools that best matched me, and I ended up choosing Brimmer because it gave me really good vibes.

Lucia Corral ’22.

How was the transition you experienced, moving from Spain to Boston?

To be completely honest, it was really hard, and I’m still figuring it all out to this day. Speaking and expressing myself in English and being away from my friends and family are just some of the challenges, but the most challenging thing is the time difference. Madrid is six hours ahead of Boston, and it can be isolating at times.

What’s your favorite thing about Massachusetts?

I have been here for only four months, and I love Massachusetts. I would have to say one of the things I like the most is the beach towns here. I went to Cape Cod, and I absolutely loved it. I also love the city of Boston. The city is so pretty and walkable, the people are so nice, and I think the river gives the city a lot of charm. Walking next to the river is actually one of my favorite things to do in the city. Landscapes here are amazing too! Every season is different from the others and has a beautiful color scheme.

What’s your favorite thing about the School?

Corral said she misses the vibrancy of Spain’s cities. Photo courtesy of Corral.

I feel like everyone is so open-minded, which I really like, and I love that there are so many different cultures within students. This makes it so much more exciting and diverse. I also like the classes and learning here, which is different from the Spanish way. I love how classes are focused on seminars, projects, reading, and discussing. In contrast, in Spain, it’s much more about learning a unit in the book and spilling it in the exam exactly as it is, which I don’t recommend experiencing.

Our grades at Brimmer don’t depend only on exams but on class participation, presentations, and projects. Also, we do not use a lot of paper at school, while in Spain, nearly everything was on paper and handwritten because we were not allowed to bring our computers to school. 

What do you miss most from Spain? 

Apart from my friends and family, I miss going to Madrid most and enjoying the atmosphere. Wandering through the streets of Malasaña and Chueca, relaxing with a picnic in El Retiro, or shopping at El Rastro (the Sunday flea market) are always in my mind when I am homesick. Also, I miss the Spanish social life, which any other country cannot beat. Last but not least, I miss the food. My favorite cookies (Galletas Príncipe), Iberic ham, and a well-done tortilla de patatas will always be favorites for me.

What one thing that you find different about the U.S. from Spain?

I could write a whole list of culture shocks, but I will keep it simple. One of the main things I have noticed is people’s social life and schedules. There are always people in the streets in Spain, eating, shopping, and walking. If we hang out to have dinner, we will meet at 9:30 pm. and, if we are a big group, we’ll stay in the restaurant talking for at least 45 minutes after paying the check–what we call sobremesa. If we want to hang out in the afternoon, we will not meet before 6:30 p.m., and a normal curfew for teenagers could be between 11:30 p.m. and 1 am. That is something I have noticed is very different here.

Maybe because of the weather, I’ve noticed people tend to go home earlier or not go out at all and spend more time with their family. However, if they hang out with friends, they go to each other’s houses rather than going somewhere like a terrace outside, as we would do in Spain. Another thing I have noticed (and I usually tell it as an anecdote back in Spain) is the outfits I see at school. Many people wear sweatpants, which shocked me the most: pajama pants! I had never seen that in my old school before, and, to this day, it still amazes me to see it.