I remember walking through the streets of Barcelona in search of a place with a delicious menú del día. This pizza place near Plaça Catalunya caught my eye. When I walked up, they spoke to me in Spanish. This was the first time that something like that had happened, and I was shocked. From there, the constant interactions like that put me at ease knowing I just fitted right in.

Identity is something I’ve always struggled with in America. I’m fairly ambiguous, in terms of looks, which I’ve been told before - sometimes I've even been called white as a joke. Those things were internalized, and I've never felt a sense of wholeness in who I am.

I’m proud of my heritage despite what people try to tell me, and to see so many beautiful people that looked like me in Spain was incredible. In America those things (deviating from the norm of a particular form of whiteness) aren’t always celebrated. It’s not to say that Spain doesn’t have issues, but to me I saw a celebration of all cultures and people from all walks of life living together in a beautiful country. It was innumerably diverse.

Back in that moment when Spanish was spoken to me, I was indistinguishable from other people around me and no one questioned who I was. That was a great feeling. I felt like I could be a person first and not characterized by the way I look. I felt almost as if my identity was more than just my race, it was who I was intrinsically - my values, language, and personality were at the forefront, shaping who I really am.

Barcelona was so welcoming, and I had such a good experience being able do things I never used to feel comfortable doing. I’m so grateful to have had the experience that will forever shape how I view myself and my identity.

India in Sitges
Artwork by Haitian artist


India Turner

India Turner

India is a Psychology major at the Xavier University of Louisiana. She studied abroad at the School for International Studies (SIS) in the Summer of 2024.



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