Nico Olivar’s Cultural Connections to Columbia

Margot Gwynn

Many students at Seattle Prep are connected to different societies from around the world, whether it’s Japan, Spain, France, The Philippines, Mexico or many others. These students find unique ways to connect to the cultures they are bonded to, whether it’s through family, clubs at Seattle Prep, or through speaking the language. Nico Olivar, freshman, maintains his many ties to his Columbian and Argentinean roots.

Nico takes the Spanish Two Honors class at Seattle Prep as a freshman, but he admits that he is nearly fluent in the language. Nico says “I have the occasional slip up every once in a while, but it’s super easy for me to flip between English and Spanish.” He started speaking the language as soon as he was brought into the world because of his deep Columbian heritage. Nico admits that he “speaks more Spanish at home and outside of school than English!” In his day-to-day life, Nico connects with his heritage just by speaking a second language, which seems like second nature to him.

Nico has three aunts and an uncle living in Argentina, but he doesn’t get to visit them in their own home country very often because of the long flight. He does get to see them when his family travels to Columbia, which is often every year. When Nico visited Columbia last, he traveled the 7,000-mile trip by himself. He says that being in another country “is such a big culture shock from the smallest things in your day-to-day life.”

Although having family in another country can be benefitting, Nico says it’s an interesting dynamic. He shares that “You feel like you have a ghost family in another country. I say that because you know that you have 15 cousins that know your name and you saw them one or two years ago, but after a while you forget their face and their personality. It feels like they are so far, yet the moment you start talking with them, you feel like it was only yesterday that you were playing FIFA 19 at your cousin’s house in Bogota.”

             Nico’s biculturalism and bilingualism gives him another point of view of life in the U.S. He also adds “It makes me realize how lucky I am to be living in a place like Seattle of all places. This also gives me more sympathy to relate with other people.” Nico embraces and admires his cultural connections, and he adds “I wouldn’t be able to live without eating the arepas my abeulita makes me every weekend!” Nico’s Columbian roots are a big part of his identity, and he stays connected to the culture he loves.