ACCENT Community College Scholarship: Under The Same Moon

Today’s post comes from ACCENT Community College recipient Mia Luna Lomeli, who describes her road to studying abroad and describes the triumphs and challenges of her first few weeks in Madrid. Even as Madrid slowly becomes a new home, Mia find ways to connect with her family back in Santa Barbara.

I had planned to study abroad for a little under a year.  I knew it was meant to be when I saw there was a Madrid, Spain study abroad trip advertised in my English 110 class.  I was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California, and at the time I was 17 years old attending Santa Barbara High School with dual enrollment as a student at Santa Barbara City College. Santa Barbara is a small town, so I was extremely ready to graduate and be able to get out into the world, grow, and find myself (as cheesy as that may sound). The main reason I was so driven to go to Spain was because I dance Flamenco, which comes from Spain.  I couldn’t wait to see and learn authentic Flamenco. After submitting my application, I ended up getting accepted into the program and was lucky enough to be chosen for the ACCENT Community College Scholarship. 

Now I am currently 18 and studying abroad in Spain.  I cannot find the words to express how happy and free I feel here in Madrid.  Even though there were several bumps in the road, including not knowing how to work our appliances, I think all of us are getting used to living on our own in a foreign country.

Now that we are on week 4, we have all settled into our apartments that now feel like a home away from home.  We all know where our favorite lunch spot is, and are still trying to explore more. We know when it is time to get all our homework done and when it is the appropriate time to go out for dinner.  We know we have to leave 30 minutes before school starts to get the metro and be on time for class.  Slowly but surely, we are all making Madrid our home and finding small things that connect us to our families back in California. My parents named me Mia Luna, which translates to “my moon”.  I get to see the same moon they see every night. I know my family looks at it and that reminds me that I am always with them in spirit.  It is a little part of home I can always see.

I have had an amazing experience exploring Madrid and meeting new friends.  As long as you go into any study abroad program wanting to learn and embrace a new culture, along with completing some of your college courses, I highly recommend doing so.  I am excited to see what else Madrid has to offer and what else I can learn from the people and culture while I am here.

~ Mia Luna Lomeli, Santa Barbara City College

ACCENT is proud to support the Community College Scholarship as part of our commitment pledge to IIE Generation Study Abroad, a nationwide effort to help more U.S. students gain international experience through study abroad programs.

Did this post inspire you take on the adventure of studying abroad yourself? Open enrollment programs with ACCENT allow students of all educational and financial backgrounds to study abroad. Find a program that works best for you at: To learn more about the ACCENT Community College Scholarship, visit: