Kimberly Cerón Gil, from Guatemala, was one of the recipients of the Solway Music Fellowship program in 2017. Two years after her participation, we talked with her about how the program influenced her artistic skills, what she is doing nowadays and what are her future plans.

  1. Kimberly It has been almost two years since you attended the Solway Music Camp in Salzburg. How is everything? Have you taken part in any new creative activities?

Yes, this year I finished school and I was part of a theatre company during November and December, but since I had to start college I could not continue with them and I had to leave. Here there are not many opportunities to do theatre, but around Christmas time many theatre companies emerge.

  1. Are you still involved in creative activities?

I am currently working as an English and theatre teacher, so yes, I do continue.

  1. What gives you inspiration?

Something that really, has always driven me to do theatre or to play the guitar, is to be able to express my ideas and my feelings. This gives me inspiration; be myself and not someone else.

  1. Are you planning to link theater with your career in the future?

If I’m honest, I’ve never seen art as a profession, or something I could devote my whole life to, or even as a way to make money. I have always seen art as a hobby, a way to express myself. I am involved in art, but not together with my profession because I study psychology so there would be no way to merge it.

  1. Two years later, what can you tell me about your experience in the Solway Music Fellowship program?

For me it was really one of the best experiences of my life, I do not stop talking about this experience or telling anyone about it. People are always asking me “how did it go?” “Please tell us”, “how is the culture in Austria?”, “Did you learn to speak German?” These are just some of the questions people always ask me. You know, I am very grateful because thanks to the fact that I was able to live this amazing experience, nowadays I have a job. Before I had the opportunity to leave the country or study English, I had a low level of English because I did not have the financial resources to study it, so with the program I learnt English and I would say that my English improved by 90%.

  1. Besides from English, what other knowledge did you acquire as a result of participating in the program?

I learned to act and do theatre. I learned about the work of Alban Berg, before I had no idea who he was, but we developed an opera that we represented and I learned a lot about the culture of Austria, I cannot say that I learned to play the violin or another musical instrument because I was not there for a very long time. But regarding singing I was given advice on how to improve the tone of my voice so I would not have to force it so much when singing.

  1. In Salzburg, you met new people in the world of art, music, theatre. Tell me about them, did any of them believe in your work?

My teachers, although they knew that we came from another country and that we were not involved, my partner Maritza and I, in art as much as they did there in Austria, they had another level there, they took us into account. They gave me the character of Wozzeck. They gave me the opportunity to play the lead role. It was a very difficult job because all the classmates had to be in complete synchronization to represent the characters; both movements, gestures and dialogues, since we all acted at the same time. I feel very proud because the work we did was German and not in English, and I had to learn to pronounce the words without knowing any German at all. It is amazing to see and reflect on all that now, that I was able to participate there, it has been, really, a great development for my life.

  1. Do you keep in touch with the guys you met at the camp, did you make friends in Salzburg? If so, what’s up with them?

Yes, I’m a photographer, I like the visual arts and I upload my work to my Instagram profile. There, I share my photos and the comrades of the camp tell me and give me likes. With the girl I was with, Maritza, I lost contact, but with other guys like Vicky who was also awarded a scholarship by Solway in Macedonia, I still have contact with her and with several boys and girls I met in Austria. On Instagram I see that they continue to dedicate time to music, some dance ballet, in fact, I made a friend who plays the harp.

  1. Before you told me that you had participated in several plays, apart from this type of project, have you participated in other creative projects? Which?

No, I have not had the opportunity to participate in other projects.

  1. What are your plans for the future?

Aside from art I am also interested in science, I would like to continue with neuropsychology in the future, and to study how we think and why we think the way we do sometimes. My purpose is to be able to contribute something to society, in the scientific field and to be able to write a book about it. That is my plan

  1. How important is it to participate in programs such as the Solway Music Scholarship?

I think it is very important. If someone is given this opportunity, it will be very beneficial for their lives. Guatemala as an underdeveloped country, therefore, it is very difficult here for young people to get ahead, the fact that I had the opportunity to go to Austria to study art has opened many doors for me. As I told you before, I am a theatre teacher and it is very important that people have opportunities like these to reinforce our talents. Here, unfortunately not everyone has that opportunity. Since I came from Austria I am another person, it is, as if I had left a bubble, I believe more in myself and what I can do, I am more motivated and with more initiatives.

  1. Maybe it was the first time you went abroad without being accompanied by an adult. If so, what are your impressions having travelled alone?

I had never travelled abroad before. I had only travelled within my country, although I have always been very adventurous. On the outward journey as I was with my friend Maritza, also a scholar, I did not feel alone, but on the way back I had to travel without any companion and I was very afraid because I knew that the trip was going to be very long, in fact, I started crying, but my coordinator in Austria helped me to relax, she accompanied me and told me her experiences having worked in an airport and having travelled alone since she was my age. She also told me to be brave, then her words gave me courage to finish the trip alone. It was very nice to feel that kind of freedom.

  1. What would you like to say to future program participants? What would you advise?

I would like them to have courage, to trust in themselves, not to doubt their talents, to show them. If they are given the opportunity to travel they need take advantage of it, live every day there to the fullest, ask questions, learn everything they can, and most importantly, make friends.

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