Despite institutional and national focus on the importance of study abroad (SA) in U.S. higher education, the number of students of color abroad is still disproportionately low (Institute of International Education, 2017). Moreover, there is limited literature examining how race and ethnicity shapes experiences abroad, despite SA research highlighting how identity negotiation influences language learning in the SA context (Kinginger, 2013). This study presents the cases of two U.S. students —an Iranian-American and an African-and Mexican-American —studying in Spain. Through journals, interviews, surveys, and the Versant for Spanishoral test, this study illustrates how these participants rejected negative racial and ethnic positionings by withdrawing from host country nationals and eventually re-evaluating experiences to align with their desired identities. Both learners improved their Versantpost-SA but their linguistic confidence in their Spanish language capabilities did not increase. The study concludes with implications for creating more inclusive and supportive SA programs.