Juan Ferreras Camilo, an international student from the Dominican Republic, is the presenter for this month's CultureLink Tea. His talk will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, in Scooters, Anderson Student Center.
Ferreras Camilo will highlight the Dominican Republic’s tourist industry and more serious topics, such as what the country has to offer to the world. The talk is free and open to the St. Thomas community. Tea, Dominican snacks and the chance to win prizes will be provided.
More about Ferreras Camilo
When asked what his philosophy of life is, Ferreras Camilo smiles and says: “Work hard; play hard." For the freshman double majoring in business administration and finance management, and minoring in Catholic studies, there are no truer words.
Ferreras Camilo and his younger sister were raised in a small, single-parent household in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. He recalled his childhood: “My mom worked three full-time jobs to put my sister and me through private Catholic high school. She has always encouraged us to continue our studies, because she is a colonel in the navy and has two master’s degrees. She says there is no price to education."
Initially, he came to the United States to follow his dreams of playing baseball, but through the support from his family, he was able to pursue a degree abroad. Ferreras Camilo began his studies at Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Virginia, Minn. When he began looking for colleges to which he could transfer, Ferreras Camilo didn't seriously consider St. Thomas until he met with the International Recruiting and Admissions staff.
“Everyone here has been very caring and welcoming," he said. "I thought I was going to be the only international student because of how much attention Katie Carroll (an International Recruiting and Admissions counselor) gave me during the admissions process!"
When asked what he misses the most about his life back home, it is difficult for him to answer. By making the “best decision” of his life in choosing St. Thomas, Ferreras Camilo said he feels supported by many people on campus and never feels alone. While he does miss his faith community and family in the Dominican Republic, he has found many ways to stay active on campus. Between his work as an alter server, his job at Scooter’s and his participation in the Spanish Club, he said he doesn’t get homesick easily.
Ferreras Camilo’s immediate plans consist of going home for the Thanksgiving break, and spending the holiday break with friends in Minnesota. He intends to study abroad in Hawaii and also through the London Business Semester.
As for his plans after graduation, he is not sure whether he will stay in the United States or return home, but he added: “I’d live here for the rest of my life outside of my country."
CultureLink Tea is a program that features monthly talks by international students presenting on their home countries and is sponsored by International Student Services.