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A Foreigner at ‘Colegio’

Full name: Sebastián García Holguín

Concentration: CIPO (Political Science)

Age: 19

Year: Second

Where are you from?

 I was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

How has your move affected your relationship with family members and friends?

 My relationship has not been affected in the sense that I don’t love them any less, I just find it difficult to speak with them on a regular basis since all that’s been going on in my life right now. Yet, when we do talk and we do get to see each other back when I get back to Ecuador, I’m filled with so much joy; it’s a reminder that they are the most important people in my life. I don’t consider my friends just friends, I consider that I have one big family of people that I love.

What has been your greatest cultural shock?

I can say it’s definitely been two things: the Spanglish and the sneezing. First of all the Spanglish, it gets on my nerves. I’m not saying that I don’t like it, its just I can’t get used to it. I have a one-track mind, if I start speaking Spanish, I’m going to finish my sentence entirely in Spanish. Same goes with English, if I start speaking in English, I’m going to finish my sentence in English. It may be something of minor gripe, but it really throws me off balance. Same as with the sneezing; its not that I mind it, it just shocked me. For example, in my first semester I sneezed in class for the first time and the whole class answered back with ‘bless you,’ including the teacher. It felt like a choir group at mass.

What is your fondest memory of back home, Ecuador?

This might be a little harder than you’d think. It would probably have to be a trip to the beach that I had with a couple of friends. It was just five of us, a whole weekend at a friends house. I mostly look back at the night before we went back to the city, Guayaquil and the beach are quite separated, it was a great night.  We made a bonfire, we had marshmallows, there was music, the moon was out, and we just lay on the beach staring at the sky, talking. It was just so peaceful, the night was filled with laughter, and it was a perfect night.

What are similarities between Guayaquil and here?

Honestly, the thing that most comes to mind is the language; even though both cultures differ on the words. I have experienced that words I have used have vastly different meanings here and they have gotten me in a couple of misunderstandings.

Why did you decide to study at Colegio?

Believe it or not, I get asked that a lot actually and my answer is always the same: the university here is quite good, much better than most back home. Like most teenagers, I wanted to leave home and have my own space. Actually, my father was born here and el Colegio became an option in my college hunting. Even though this was not my first choice, this university has become my home and so far I’ve love it here.

What do you wish to obtain with your education from the university?

World domination would be good, I’m just kidding! Maybe. No actually, I want to learn more about Puerto Rico’s culture, to graduate, to meet new people, and to hopefully keep exploring new places. I want to get the best out of this place and apply all the lessons I have learned here in my life. The future is broad and filled with fog, yet there are endless paths I could take once I’m done here. So for now, I‘ll just concentrate on maintaining my GPA and having a good time. Isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?


A History of Europe major at Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. She is a natural born leader that loves to get involved in all sorts of activities; loves animals, painting, and sleeping while it's raining. Plans on becoming a lawyer after graduating from 'la IUPI'.
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