IFG (Intercultural Focus Groups)




Getting Started

What is IFG all about?

IFG is a space to share, discuss, and reflect on the study abroad experience. We will meet for one hour each week, and we want to help you streamline the process of beginning to understand, engage with, and experience Spain as a local. In our meetings, we will also work to mindfully examine each of our identities as “multi-local” individuals, as well as look at our roles as community members here in Madrid and Alcalá.

What does IFG ask of you?

Come with questions, concerns, and observations about life abroad. Engage with Spain from a place of interest, curiosity, and kindness—assume positive intent from others; realize that things here do make sense even though they may not yet make sense to you. The opposite of your assumptions may also be true. Practice acknowledging and being at ease with the unfamiliar, and avoid harboring unnecessary expectations. Describe and inquire—be a cultural detective and resist jumping to conclusions and making judgments.

Please come prepared to share, discuss and reflect on questions, concerns and observations about life abroad throughout your time in Spain.

Group Options

(Reminder: Students who identify as students of color are free to attend either of the following IFGs.)

All Student IFG

A space for all Tufts-Skidmore students to work together to meet the challenges and anxieties encountered while abroad, as well as recognize and let go of unmet expectations that we may hold about being here. Attendance and participation at these meetings will streamline the transition to being abroad and give everyone the opportunity to cultivate mindful approaches to establishing, developing, and maintaining the rituals and relationships that will allow each individual to begin to understand, engage with, and experience Spain as a local.

Student of Color IFG

This focus group is intended to be a space of support where students of Color can discuss questions, concerns, and personal experiences throughout their semester here in Madrid. Understanding that students of Color undoubtedly have unique experiences abroad, our meetings aim to acknowledge obstacles that students of Color may encounter, while also working towards developing valuable habits and relationships in the face of those obstacles.

Intercultural Adaptation Facilitators

IFG Madrid

Nicole Pearson

Nicole was born in the Bronx and grew up in Alaska. She is a long time activist who began her journey with mindfulness via yoga. After years of social justice organizing she was burnt out and noticed that many of her colleagues struggled with issues of depression and anger. She began using yoga and mindfulness techniques to assist activists with the physical and mental fatigue they felt after years of intense organizing. In that work she discovered that social transformation could only come about through self care and personal transformation, which fosters honest connection with our emotions and distance from those emotions to decide how we proceed. Ever since she’s devoted herself to exploring and articulating the connections between mindfulness and activism. Nicole is a long term expat having lived in Spain for 12 years. When she’s not engaged in activism, she´s extolling the virtues of Spanish wine and wine culture in wine events and tours through her business Nicole Angela Travel & Taste.

Queer IFG

Elizabeth Rodríguez

Eli is currently studying Computer Engineering at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, while she volunteers as an activist for the LGBT organisation Arcópoli, trying to fight for the human rights that those minorities need. She likes to travel whenever possible and loves to learn about different cultures. She also enjoys photography as a hobby and likes videogames.



IFG Alcalá

Lucy Fell

Lucy graduated from Tufts in 2017 with a B.A. in Spanish and Community Health. She currently teaches English and Science classes to primary students at Colegio Elfo in Madrid. In her free time she enjoys traveling and playing soccer. Lucy spent spring semester of her junior year studying in Madrid with Tufts-Skidmore Spain and interning at the Fulbright Comision.


Don’t Ask Where I’m From, Ask Where I’m a Local

Weird, or Just Different? (The opposite may also be true)

All it takes is 10 mindful minutes