Marielena Valdes Chinchilla from Honduras: Studying Economics and Sociology at Manhattanville College in New York

Marielena Valdes Chinchilla from Honduras: Studying Economics and Sociology at Manhattanville College in New York

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

I attended a U.S. college-preparatory school in Honduras and it was always a dream of mine to obtain a higher-level education that would enable to exploit my potential. I believe the United States provides this to international prospective students.

What do you like best?

What I enjoyed the most about these three years in the United States is the difference in quality of life between here and back home. I found myself in a place where I could share my ideals and give my full potential and see more in return than I would ever see in Honduras.

What do you miss most?

I would say that what I miss most about home is my family and the commodities of being in my house. However, I believe I would not be the person I am today if I had never learned how to deal with my everyday duties by myself, and I would not appreciate my time with my family as I do now.

What was your biggest surprise?

My biggest surprise about living and studying in the U.S. has been the sense of belonging that I found here in Manhattanville. I have made friends that have become my family and professors that have seen me grow over these years and I know I will email them once I get my first job.

... your biggest disappointment?

I can say my biggest disappointment would be the lack of time I had to do everything I wanted to do. Since my freshman year I realized that the biggest disappointment for an involved college student is that the day has only 24 hours; and somehow we manage to create two more hours out of the blue. 

How have you handled:

... finances?

I would have to say finances were the hardest part to handle. After my first semester of freshman year I decided to get a job on campus and I learned how to take care of my expenses and how to spend my money since I became the one bringing it in.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

I adjusted very well to the educational system here at Manhattanville. I believe it was due to the similarity between my high school’s educational system and the one here. My last two years in high school focused on creating habits for me to be able to take notes properly, write essays in various higher education formats, etc.

What are your activities?

Here at Manhattanville, I work on campus as an office sssistant and I am also part of the Duchesne Center for Social Justice in which I have to complete 30 hours of community service per semester. Being a part of the Duchesne Center got me involved in the UNICEF club and the Model United Nations Club as well.

How easy or difficult was making friends?

It is easy to make friends when you are a freshman. At this point in your college life everyone wants to make friends, after this, people start focusing on their courses and their jobs and it becomes harder to become friends with people outside your inner circles.

How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country? 

Currently, my dream job is to work in the Honduran Mission Project at the United Nations, or any job in multilateral banking. I believe that I have shaped my college degree to be fit to improve the situation of not only Honduras, but also any developing country I have the opportunity to help. 

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