Back in my home country of Mexico, I used to dream about being in a classroom surrounded by people with different worldviews and backgrounds. When I discovered John Cabot University, I realized it was the perfect fit for me. Coming to Rome, however, was not easy. I had to work to make my dream come true.
My name is Carolina Tellez. I am 19 years old, I study International Affairs with a minor in Economics, and I was born and raised in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. It is common belief in Mexico that studying at an international university is almost impossible. People say it is expensive and that there are no scholarships for international students. Regardless of what my family and close friends said, I was determined to study abroad. I prepared myself for the application process by studying and practicing for the standardized tests, essays, and interviews, but my biggest obstacle was going to be the cost of attendance.
That did not stop me though. I began selling brownies at school. My younger sister and I started an online bakeshop named UMAMI. Our clients would order from us through Instagram, and we did home and school deliveries. It was the most challenging and gratifying journey I have ever embarked on.
Class Gift Scholarship
My hard work paid off. Once accepted, I was awarded the 2018 Class Gift Scholarship. I felt happy, honored, and grateful. It was as if the previous graduating class was saying to me, “We value our experiences here, we value our professors and the knowledge we gained from studying at JCU, and we want you to have this experience and enjoy it as much as we did.”
The scholarship allowed me to make my dream come true of studying at John Cabot University. Once in Rome, I also began working as an au pair babysitting for two Italian children. Working part-time while being a full-time student has been challenging, but it has taught me a lot. I have developed a strong work ethic and acquired new skills like time management, organization, adaptability, and how to problem-solve. Moreover, I got out of my comfort zone using the public transportation in a foreign country and learned different routes to get home.
What keeps me motivated even during difficult moments is the JCU community. For the first time in my life, I can say I truly enjoy going to class. Every morning, I interact with different people on the metro and feel completely immersed in the Italian culture. Once I get to campus, I feel like I am experiencing the whole world concentrated in just three campus buildings. In class, my professors’ experience and knowledge amazes me. They push me to challenge myself, and I look forward to the assigned readings about political issues in countries I scarcely knew about. After class, I attend club meetings for Student Government and the Model United Nations Society. I also work for JCU’s Admissions Office as a Student Ambassador, helping prospective students understand what it is like to live and study at JCU in Rome. I always go home smiling and dreaming about my future.
I came to John Cabot University with the goal of preparing myself academically and professionally, but it turns out the most precious outcome is how much I have grown personally. My life has taken a 180-degree turn. Now when I think about my closest friends, I think of places like Florida, Genoa, Rio de Janeiro, Quito, Kenya, and Venezuela. When I think about Rome, I picture myself in the metro, on the tram, or walking around Trastevere. My first semester at JCU was incredible, and if there is something I can assure you about this place, it is that it will challenge you and change your life completely.
Class of 2022
International Affairs Major
Hometown: Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico