International Pioneers is a series of interviews from one international student to another. For most of the people at Point Park, a ‘study abroad’ experience is an exciting and enlightening period where they experience a new culture, and can study immersed in new surroundings. For international students, our ‘study abroad’ experience is 4 years long, and it’s right here and now.
My goal is to create one profile a month interviewing an international student, to examine the experience and emotions that come with moving many thousands of miles away from home, family and comfort. Every month that passes by is another month we find ourselves growing and learning, away from the things we call home. Studying here might be the biggest change an individual can experience; from culture to language to policy. But we chose to study here for a reason. There is such a diverse community on campus, and I’m here to shed light upon it.
HC: What’s your full name? Where are you from? Where have you lived?
My name is Florencia Claure Urquidi. I’m from Cochabamba, Bolivia and I lived there since I was born. I also lived in an arts boarding school in Michigan for 9 months in 2015-2016 (if that counts).
HC: What’s your major? Why did you pick this major?
I’m a dance major with a ballet concentration. I chose doing this because I can’t see myself doing anything else in life, it is what fills my heart and what makes me the happiest. I’ve always had a huge passion for the arts.
HC: What brought you to Point Park out of all your other options?
As soon as I got here for my visit/audition, I immediately felt like I was home. The dance program, the faculty, the city and the campus seemed perfect to me and are exactly what I was looking for.
HC: What has been the hardest thing about adjusting?
Having to leave my loved ones behind.
HC: Culture shock? How do you feel?
It wasn’t a huge culture shock, since I have lived in the USA before. However, college has been a different experience to have. Specially in social events and the interaction between people and their relationships. Some actions or responses I see some people have towards others seem disrespectful to me, because that is how we see it in my culture. Therefore, it bothers me sometimes. But I’m enjoying my first couple moths of the journey here.
HC: How do you deal with homesickness?
I keep my mind busy and focused in what I want. I think about all the effort I have made to get here. Whenever I start feeling homesick, I remind myself the reasons why I made the decision to leave home, as well as the fact that I have friends and family that are proud and I have all the support from to keep going.
HC: What do you love most about living in the US?
The opportunities to grow in my art field and to experience it through inspiring surroundings. I wasn’t able to do that back home.
HC: What do you dislike most about living in the US?
I have only had a couple bad encounters with people who have somehow made fun or have been intolerant of my “broken English” or my difficulty to express what I want to say with the right words. But, as I said, it happened only a few times.
HC: What do you love most about your culture?
I love that we show love for one another very often, how people can have fun whenever they go and I really love how families stay close and united.
HC: Are you happy here?
I am very happy to be here, it is a step closer to my dreams and I couldn’t be more grateful for the life I’m living right now. I have met wonderful people that are becoming family away from home and I’m so inspired by the community.