Apr 18, 2012 7:24 PM by Lacey Steele

Pueblo man selected to study in Spain

It's the chance of a lifetime to be one of the 20 selected to study abroad in Spain.

A Pueblo student now has that opportunity.

"Not in a million years would I have thought I'd be studying in Spain," said Leonardo Gomez, a non-traditional student at Pueblo Community College and CSU-Pueblo.

On February 1, Leonardo Gomez, 29, received an email about the Keith Sherin Global Leaders Program in Salamanca, Spain.

The email read, "After careful review by our Committee, we are happy to notify you that you have been selected to participate."

"I will be taking nine credit hours this summer out there in a month's time, so it's definitely going to be challenging but nothing is impossible," said Gomez.

Gomez decided to go back to college almost a decade after high school.

"Just being a father," said Gomez. "It really gave me a different aspect of life, and the true meaning of an education."

He will receive his bachelor's degree in two years and hopes to teach Spanish.

"I would like to stay in the Pueblo area," said Gomez. "We have a lot of great kids in this community, and we really need to reach out to them. The rest of the world, everybody knows two to three languages. I think we need to be up to par with that, and I think knowing a foreign language is just a great avenue for anybody."

There was strict criteria to apply for the study abroad opportunity, including pursuing a degree in Spanish.

"Low income, first generation, and you do have be part of TRIO," said Gomez.

TRIO Student Services is a program at Pueblo Community College and CSU-Pueblo where he works and takes classes.

One of his advisors told him he should apply.

"Big language war over there from what I hear, and I really want to get more familiar with the different dialects over there," said Gomez. "It's just something that's always interested me, especially the difference between Madrid and Barcelona spanish."

Gomez says he will miss his young sons and wife.

"She knows it's something really important in both of our lives," said Gomez.

Gomez will continue his education at CSU-Pueblo after he graduates from Pueblo Community College.


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