Andrea Dyes is originally from Colorado, but she’s seen more of the world in the past few years than many people see in their whole lives. She spent eight and a half months traveling around South America before finishing her degree in fashion design at RISD. And now? She’s a bona fide New Yorker, taking Spanish 6 with Fluent City. Keep reading for more on Andrea’s travels, her art, and her language-learning experience.
Don’t Think – Just Go
For those of you who are constantly on the verge of buying that plane ticket but keep finding excuses to hold off – use Andrea as some serious travel-inspo. Andrea made time for travel by taking a year off college to see South America. “I made a very last minute decision to leave school,” she told us. Once there, she decided she’d rather take a quality over quantity approach, taking the time to see each country she visited instead of trying to pack in as many destinations as possible. “We didn’t have the biggest plan, we just wanted to spend a month and a half in each country we visited. Even that didn’t feel like enough, though!” She backpacked around from city to city for a friend for six months, before settling in Lima, Peru for a two and a half month internship.
Surrounded by Spanish, Andrea started to pick up a lot of the language, especially conversational Spanish. She had a double motivation to learn, too. Not only was she spending the better part of a year in Spanish speaking countries, but it’s also a big part of her family heritage. “Spanish is my mom’s first language, but I didn’t really grow up speaking it. I was kind of surprised at how unprepared I felt,” she said of arriving in South America. “I guess I thought there would be more English!” Now, a few years later, she tells us that she’s lost a lot of the Spanish she picked up while travelling, since there haven’t been many opportunities for her to practice. “I want to find people that I can be speaking with all the time.”
Fashion and the Future
When she’s not jetting around the Southern Hemisphere, Andrea is focused on her designs, which she categorizes as “social art.” “I guess you could consider them ‘clothes,'” she laughed, “but more structural.” She’s interested in exploring the roles of women in different societies, and her art reflects that curiosity. Now, she’s hoping to study art and design in Spain through a program in traditional lace making (which is one of the coolest and most specific programs we’ve ever heard of!). That’s a big part of why she started up with Spanish again – the program requires competency in both English and Spanish. And after finishing school? “I would love to live somewhere Spanish speaking for a few years. Hopefully my career in fashion can direct me.”
We made sure to get Andrea’s top travel recommendations. What’s on her can’t-miss list? “The mountains in Peru were amazing. And definitely Valle de Cocurra in Columbia. I would love to go back to Columbia.”
Feeling inspired? Check out our Spanish classes here.