HOMETOWN: CANCUN, MEXICO
MANHATTANVILLE COLLEGE IN PURCHASE, NEW YORK
STUDYING: FINANCE AND SPORTS STUDIES
How was your transition from Mexico to the United States?
It was pretty good. I didn’t think there was a big culture shock. I play golf, so I had been in the United States many times for tournaments. Also, being part of the (Manhattanville golf) team just really helped me settle in with my teammates and the rest of the community.
When did you start playing golf?
When I was 8. My mom and granddad introduced me to the game. I started playing competitively when I was 11.
Why did you want to come to school in the United States instead of staying home to study?
I really wanted to play golf, and for me there was really no other option than coming to the United States. Golf isn’t something I could easily play in college back at home.
Reid Castle, built in 1892, is the face of Manhattanville.
How did you find out about Manhattanville?
My parents and I hired a sporting agency called College Prospects, which helped me set up a profile, and they guided me through the necessary steps to get recruited. The coaches at Manhattanville saw my profile and were interested in me. They e-mailed me and then called. I had also visited Manhattanville when I came (to New York City) for a school trip. We went to a Model UN conference, and in some free time I had, I managed to escape and come visit Manhattanville.
How did you choose your major?
I’m a double major in Finance and Sport Studies. I didn’t always know I wanted to do that. Originally I started with Business Management, but then I took classes in my majors and decided to switch.
Do you currently have any jobs or internships?
I work for the Athletics Department at Manhattanville. My official title is Team Game Assistant. Mostly what I do is film the games of the Manhattanville teams.
Being part of the golf team helped Joseph Mullarkey Ruiz-Zorilla settle into Manhattanville College. (Photo: Tyson Agler)
What’s the most difficult thing you had to adjust to when you came to the United States?
The most difficult thing for me to get used to would be managing my own time now that I’m on my own. Making sure that you stay on top of everything is really important.
Do you ever feel homesick?
Even though it wasn’t a huge culture shock, I always miss home. I try to go home every break, like Thanksgiving and Spring Break.
How do you spend your free time?
I really enjoy playing video games with my roommates. It’s a good way for us to just hang out. We also go to the gym a lot.
What’s your favorite place on campus?
I really like Kennedy Gym. The people there are really fun, all the coaches. I just really like to be there.
What’s your favorite American dish?
I know it’s not really American, but since it’s become Americanized, I’m going to go ahead and say pizza. I definitely like pizza.
Has your view on technology changed since coming to the United States?
Definitely. Cancun is really smothered with American technology; it’s very globalized. But when I came here, it’s just so much more apparent. Even the buildings here are full of technology. Take this building that we are in, for example (the Berman Student Center Building, which is LEED Certified). Something like this is very unseen in Mexico. Another example is Mexico wouldn’t be prepared for snow, so seeing that kind of technology, like a snow plow, for the first time was pretty cool.
Are you following the U.S presidential election?
I am following it a little. It’s very different though. In Mexico, you have more than two parties. There’s usually up to five or six and each one has a different candidate. You have a lot of different views and opinions, but I feel like in the States, even though it’s kind of radical, it’s always between the same two parties. I know there are more than two, but those are the only ones ever talked about.
When it comes to debates, it seems like there is one every other week. Back at home, it’s just one or two debates for the whole election. If I could implement anything, I would love to see more things like debates and town halls back at home.
What’s one of the best experiences you’ve had since coming here?
Going to (New York) city over (winter) break and experiencing the tree with all the lights and snow in Rockefeller Center was really amazing to me.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing college students today?
I would think it would be a lack of reality. I feel like sometimes college is a continuation of high school, except you’re on your own. And I see a lot of people just “chilling” too much sometimes. People have so much more potential than they realize, and if everyone just did their own thing and made smart choices, you would see so many more exceptional people.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to study in the United States?
Do a lot of research. Make sure you make the right choice for YOU. It’s more than just coming here and studying; it’s leaving your family, leaving your home and everything you know behind. If you’re not happy with your decision, then it can really make your life miserable.
If you’re not used to being alone, it’s also kind of tough. Once you’re here, I would say just find someone you have something in common with and take it one day at a time.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself living someplace close to home and working either as a golf pro or doing something in the golf industry.
By PATRICIA RODRIGUEZ-DIAZ
(PHOTO: Mike McLaughlin)