Meet Shervin. Shervin Sima.
Shervin was my first friend I made in kindergarten on that sunny Monday afternoon, 1996, in PM kindergarten class. We were playing in a cardboard play house in the back of the classroom and she told me her real home was just a few blocks away from mine, so she invited me over after school.
From the first moment I met her, she showed nothing but kindess. And that’s how our relationship continued – over nine years of soccer, performing as the Spice Girls for the talent show, running around the Rose Festival each spring eating elephant ears and riding the ferris wheel.
We’re a long way away from being 6 years old. In our twenties and recently graduated from college, we’re moving on to bigger things in this “adult world,” as some call it.
Shervin just made a huge move in life. A 5,000-mile move, to be exact.
What inspired her change of scenery? To live in a place she’s never lived in before? Saturated in a different language, with different foods and different customs – learning the art of always having time for a coffee, even if you’re in a rush…?
But we’ll let tell us her story. Here’s Shervin. A Strong Girl who is willing to let us into her big, awesome journey.
How does the word “movement” fit into your life, especially any changes that have happened over the last few months?
The last few months have been stressful, frustrating, scary – but overall, totally worth it! Coming from a pretty traditional Persian family, telling my parents that I wasn’t going straight to graduate school was hard; telling them that I was instead going to go to Spain to try to become an English teacher was even harder!
While they’ve always been supportive, they’ve also always been very protective and it was clear right away that this wasn’t what they had in mind for my immediate future. But I have to give them credit; they heard me out and got on board even though they were reluctant. My dad was especially surprising, telling me that he’d be proud of me no matter what, that he understood I had to get out into the world and try to be independent, and that I was brave for all I was doing.
Within the span of two months I did research on English teacher training programs, specifically run in Spain. I found one run by Cambridge at International House Barcelona, applied, interviewed, got in, and within 3 weeks found myself in Barcelona! “Movement” fits literally into my life because of the literal moving I’ve done, but it’s also taken on a new meaning for me. Everything that’s happened in the past couple months has been something of a liberating movement for me.
What does life look like right now?
I am currently taking an intensive teacher training course in Barcelona. Never having done any formal teaching, it’s been such an amazing experience and now I appreciate all the teachers I’ve ever had; it’s definitely not easy being a teacher! If it wasn’t for the amazing course tutors and classmates I’ve met and become friends with, I’m not sure I would be doing as well as I am; not just in the class, but living on my own in Barcelona.
What brought you here?
I decided to come to Barcelona and do this course because I wanted to experience life outside of what was familiar and safe to me. After spending a semester abroad in Oslo, I knew that that was what I wanted to do- live abroad, be independent, and gain as much valuable life experience as I could. I had also decided that I didn’t want to go straight to graduate school, but didn’t want to sit at home as a gap year. I decided I would get the experience I want abroad, while trying something new and challenging myself.
This was especially important because I’d spent my entire college experience working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I knew and still know that that’s what I want to do with my life, but before fully committing my life to it, I knew I needed to experience something else.
It’s also been important because I’ve had the tendency in the past to say I was going to do something and then not follow through, but I knew this was what I wanted to do and while it wasn’t easy and I had to do A LOT of research on my own, I was proud of myself for finding the program on my own and taking and completing all the steps to get where I am now.
What is one goal you have this year?
My major goal for the year is to get a full-time teaching job after I finish the course so that I can continue living in Spain or anywhere else abroad for at least a year!
Currently, who/what do you draw inspiration from? When you wake up in the morning, what pops into your head and gets you saying, “Today is my day!”?
I draw a lot of, if not all, my inspiration from my parents. Every time I thought about giving up and going home, or just speaking English because I was too embarrassed to speak Spanish, I think of how strong my parents were to have moved from Iran to America. Not only did they both leave behind her entire families, but neither of them spoke any English and through all that- all the problems, all the homesickness- they stayed strong, persevered, adapted, created a successful business, and built new lives so their kids had opportunities they hadn’t. So when things get tough, I think of them and their story, and that drives me to keep going and not give up.
What is one thing you know to be true? What is your statement of faith that drives you to keep doing what you’re doing?
That no matter what happens, what decisions I make, or where I end up in life, I have friends and family who will love, help, and support me through any troubles and be there to celebrate any and all of my successes- I take great comfort in knowing that. And I’d have to say that what drives me to keep doing what I’m doing is a sense of excitement from it all and the fact that it just makes me unbelievably content and feeling lucky to be fortunate enough to do this. I worked hard this summer cleaning student housing at my college to be able to afford all this and I take great pride in knowing that I have accomplished this for myself!
What is something new that brings Joy to your life?
Simply waking up every morning knowing that I’m in Barcelona makes it all worth it! The city is seriously just magic and filled with beauty everywhere; whether it’s all the beautiful stained glass or mosaic work, or just the friendly warmth of the Barcelonans. I have to give honorable mentions, though, to spending time drinking coffee or sangria with my classmates, bonding over lesson planning or just getting to know each other; and being able to navigate a large city on my own, as well as practicing my Spanish and hearing from natives that I’m not as bad as I think I am at speaking Spanish.
Thanks, Shervin! You are truly a Strong Girl who is dancing so beautifully in this world.
**Check back tomorrow to read about another amazing Strong Girl.**