Wendy Tafur from Ecuador: Studying English/Creative Writing and Theatre at Seattle University

Wendy Tafur from Ecuador: Studying English/Creative Writing and Theatre at Seattle University

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

I decided to study in the USA because I’d had the opportunity to visit Seattle before and fell in love with the city. Moreover, I had a passion for literature I’d read by American writers, like Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, and wanted to improve my English and write books like these so I thought the USA was fitting with my goals.

Why did you choose Seattle University?

I chose Seattle University because I knew the city and the university had a great location I knew I wanted to be a writer but I also had an interest in acting and theatre. Seattle University had an English/Creative Writing program that would make me read more and a Theatre program that would let me explore other areas besides acting. The small class sizes were an important factor for me as well because I wanted to be able to talk to my professors more and hoped that would bring me a better sense of community within the University besides being a place to study.

What do you like best?

The friends I’ve made and the sense of community I’ve found.

What do you miss most?

My family, my friends, my puppy, Ecuadorian food, Latin music... sometimes, the warmth of the culture that comes with Latin music, but I’m always glad to get my friends into it and trying to cook Ecuadorian dishes for others to try. 

How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?

I’ve been in Seattle University for four years now, and my English has improved because I don’t think about it too much now when I speak. Seattle University has definitely helped me pay more attention to the way I write and how I can make it better, clearer, and make my opinions supported by arguments.

What was your biggest surprise?

I was surprised by how important talking about social justice was in my university and Seattle. I liked how we were encouraged to have these conversations and discuss relevant issues and ways our studies and work can address that.

... your biggest disappointment?

I was a bit disappointed when I realized I was the only Ecuadorian student in my university my first years, so even when something big happened in my country, nobody knew.

How have you handled:

... language differences?

With humor, being honest with my friends and asking questions. It’s important to realize mistakes and questions are fine and your friends don’t expect you to be “perfect” that way.

... finances?

Finances got a lot easier when I learned to cook instead of just ordering takeout or eating mac and cheese five times a week.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

My university works in quarter system so it was very hard at first because everything is so fast paced. It helped to study with friends and get a planner.

What are your activities?

I am co-editor of a visual and literary arts magazine called Fragments for 2018, and a volunteer for various events in the International Student Center, including our International Dinner and one of the Orientation Leaders for international students. I’m also in a club called Student Alumni Ambassadors which works closely with alumni events and I work with the International Admissions Office.

How easy or difficult was making friends?

In Seattle, it’s weird sometimes because in the first week everyone wants to be friends with everyone but then groups start forming and then it’s hard to get in. But in clubs and student events it’s easy to meet people as long as you keep in touch.

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

I want to write fiction books and animated movies. Maybe musicals somewhere down the road. Studying in the U.S. has helped me so now I can do it in two languages and reach a larger audience, as I’ve always wanted. The experience has helped me learn more about different cultures and situations that I can talk about through fiction. I can show others what I’ve learned and I want to inspire others in my country as well.

What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?

Leaving your home country is hard, but it really makes you grow and realize the world is so big and your work can reach so many people so if you have the opportunity, take it.

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