If you’ve attended campus events throughout the past year, such as the Mother’s Day Celebration, Professors and Pizza or the Jag Kitchen pop-ups, you’ve probably seen Mariana Silva-Gómez helping lead them. As the Associated Student Organization Vice President of Outreach, Silva-Gómez has helped make Southwestern College a more exciting and interactive community by helping to bring events and engagement to Southwestern College students.
Silva-Gómez is one of Southwestern College’s many international students who’ve come from across the world to study here. Southwestern College prides itself on the diversity of its students, faculty and staff and bringing international students to campus helps strengthen the campus’ culture and perspectives.
Whether a Jaguar is from down the road or across the pond, they all share the same Southwestern College spirit and pride. Meet one of our international students who calls Southwestern College home by reading below.
Hometown: Popayán, Colombia
What is your major? Film, television and video arts. I will be transferring to Cal State Long Beach next semester.
What was your reason for coming to the United States?
Initially, I came to the United States when I was 17 because I wanted to learn English. But then I realized that this is the best place to learn about filmmaking.
What were some of the biggest culture shocks you experienced in San Diego?
I come from a small city where everyone knew each other, so one of the first shocks I had was not really knowing anyone here. This forced me come out of my comfort zone, and I became less shy because I had to put myself out there more and start talking to people. People here are warm and kind, but I noticed a different way of greeting each other and saying, “hello.” In Colombia, everyone is very embraceful, it’s common to kiss each other on the right cheek when greeting each other. The food here is also so different and unique, there’s so much variety in San Diego alone. In Colombia, each region has its own types of foods.
What advice would you give to other international students attending Southwestern College?
I would say that getting involved on campus really helps you to feel more at home. I remember when I first came here, I was very to myself and shy all the time. This actually made me think about returning to Colombia because I was so lonely. So, I got a job on campus and started getting more involved in the Associated Student Organization, and that really helped to feel more comfortable and at home.
What do you love about Southwestern College?
I love the professors here, two of them have actually become my mentors. I like that Southwestern College is a smaller college, I feel like the professors are able to interact with the students more and I learn better that way. You usually don’t get that same interaction with your professors at bigger colleges. I also have a really great international student advisor, he’s very honest and keeps me on track.