Alumni Spotlight: Priscilla Araya

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Priscilla Araya - Headshot_crop

Before coming to our Intensive English Program, Priscilla had studied business administration and marketing in Costa Rica. She started in level 2 of our six-level core program and studied with us for ten months. Now she is a global administrative assistant at IBM Costa Rica, giving support to executives in the U.S. and Canada and spending at least 80% of her work day speaking English. Regarding her experience at her current job, Priscilla said: “It is great to know that with English as your second language you will be able to communicate with people from many parts of the world.”

Among several other reasons, Priscilla chose the Rice University Intensive English Program mainly because of “the educational prestige that Rice holds. It is one of the best ranked universities in the U.S.” She added that “another factor was the university location which is near to downtown and other important places in Houston. . . . Finally, it was [Rice ESL’s] social media…showing the students and professors having a great time.” After spending several sessions with us, Priscilla’s smiling face became one of the regulars on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

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Priscilla with her teachers and classmates

The cultural experience was what Priscilla enjoyed most while living in Houston. “Houston is a city with wonderful multicultural aspects which makes the experience more enriching. The Rice ESL program takes this Houston essence to its classes. Students are clear in their desire to learn a language, but in the end you can acquire more than you had previously thought. You will have an expanded perspective to understand other cultural environments and thoughts.” While studying with us, Priscilla took advantage of all the socializing opportunities and cultural activities the program had to offer, from professional sports events to a Houston Zoo visit, our annual Thanksgiving luncheon, karaoke nights and line dancing! “Actually, the friends I made in the program became like my family, and the nice thing is that we still have communication with each other. . . . Now, it doesn’t matter how far apart we are, I know that I have friends in different countries.”

When asked what advice she would give to international students who are considering studying English in the U.S., Priscilla said: “If you have the opportunity to study in the U.S., do it! It is a decision that you will never regret. You will fill your life with unforgettable experiences, people, and at the same time your world perspective will expand and definitely new opportunities will come to you!”

Author: Milagros Lugo-Amador, Assistant Director

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