HOMETOWN: TORREON, COAHUILA, MEXICO
FIFTH-YEAR STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO
STUDYING: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS, ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SUPPLY-CHAIN MANAGEMENT
Why did you come to the U.S. to study?
I decided to leave my home when I was 18 to pursue higher education. I always wanted to study at an American university, and it wasn’t until my sophomore year in college when I finally convinced my dad to transfer me from Tec de Monterrey to the University of Texas at El Paso. It is by far the best investment my dad ever made.
What made you choose UTEP?
I chose it for several reasons. The first was the accessibility of being relatively close to home (10-hour drive or 3 hours by plane.) Second, I was impressed with the architecture and culture of the university. And last I was amazed by the high rankings of the College of Business Administration.
How did you choose your majors?
The combination of the three majors — International Business, Entrepreneurship and Supply-Chain Management --
creates a perfect global balance for my future aspirations. (I like) the idea of contributing to the movement of commodities from place of origin to place of consumption worldwide. Having the opportunity to intern at a third-party logistics business increased my interest in the field. … I have always been passionate about understanding different cultures and business operations.. Therefore I chose my International Business major. I have traveled to 5 different countries and spent the summer at an internship program in China that I got through my campus job finder. … The program offered the best opportunity to engage directly with Chinese business philosophy and challenges, while experiencing life from the world’s fastest-growing economy.
Lastly, I chose Entrepreneurship when I realized I had a natural talent for innovation. I constantly seek new ideas that will contribute to greater success.
Do you live on or off campus?
I have lived my entire college career off campus in an apartment complex very near the university. For the past four years I had only one roommate, who was born in the USA but raised in Mexico. Last year my younger brother Oscar joined the club. It feels more like home, having him around.
What’s your favorite place on campus?
The student union. It is not only the place where I work (in the Office of Student Affairs) but where all my (campus) organizations meet every Monday. I have many memories in this building. All are top-notch experiences.
The University of Texas El PAso features Bhutanese architecture. (Courtesy UTEP)
Do you ever feel homesick? How do you deal with it?
When I miss my family, I take a minute to analyze the present and the opportunity I’ve been blessed with. I have in my hands my future and the potential to make an impact during my college career. Either I decide to waste time being homesick or I do something worth the time. The past five years have helped me become the independent woman I am now.
How often do you go home?
I only go home twice a year, during summer break for a weekend (since I am always enrolled in summer internships) and in December to celebrate Christmas.
What’s the one food or meal from home you miss the most?
I definitely miss Mexican beef. Although we have a large variety of tacos (in El Paso) due to (being close to) the border, I miss the authentic flavor of homemade tortillas and authentic beef.
What’s your advice on the best way to make friends in the U.S.?
The majority of my friends were born in America but raised in Mexico (Juarez) across the border. I have been blessed to be involved in nine different student organizations that have challenged me on an everyday basis. However, no organization has challenged me as much as Alpha Xi Delta sorority. Joining the sorority strengthened my network of American friends. It was the first time I was forced to speak English at all times. It helped me understand the American culture, and I even started acquiring a taste to country music. Joining Alpha Xi Delta changed my life. My advice for foreigners interested in making long-lasting American friends and connections is joining campus Greek life.
Who on campus has been most helpful to you?
I had the opportunity of being named a 21st Century Scholar, (a program that develops career-related leadership skills among students) with the highest untapped potential at the University. My mentor Louie Rodriguez has helped me unconditionally on every step of my college and professional career.
What’s the strangest thing that’s happened to you since coming here?
Living in the United States for five years developed my ability to analyze and think in English. Today, I barely use my first language to communicate. I watch movies in English, I do everything in English.
How do you spend your free time?
I was fortunate enough to serve as president of three business associations on campus, which consumed the majority of my time. I am very involved with Autism Speaks philanthropy with my sorority. I’m an entrepreneur developing an advertisement web page for the city. I also work two jobs, one on campus and the other one at a logistics firm. I ride my bicycle to school 3 out of 5 days to clear my mind and experience adrenaline. I practice a daily workout called boot camp at 5:30 every morning. I escape to a new city every time I have a chance, and during winter season I ski.
What do you know now that you wish you had known before you came to America to study?
I wish I was aware of the importance of the grade point average (GPA). The GPA you earn on your first semester of college will follow you everywhere. If you have a high GPA, you will have higher probabilities to land a job on campus and start your professional career — and a competitive advantage among other students.
What are the 3 best pieces of advice you would give to students from your home country about studying in America?
Congratulations! You already made the best decision, taking that extra step and deciding to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the USA. Chose a university that is close to home. Chose a university that challenges you and inspires you to be a top-notch student. Think about all the hours you are gonna spend on campus – about 50 hours a week – and consider all the external factors. Once in college, go above and beyond at all times. You have invested four years on yourself; make them count.
What are your plans for after graduation?
Short term, I plan on getting my master’s in Logistics while getting more experience in the field. I will continue (to be) involved at my campus as an alumna and finding a way to give back. Long term, I aim to open my own third-party logistics or trucking company that could enable the movement of commodities around the world.
I have always been very passionate about politics too. During my junior year I ran for student-government president and formed my own political party. I plan to continue being involved with politics and run for office in the future.