International students are a large component of Gustavus’s unique community. This week’s Gustie of The Week is Sophomore Ana Martinez from Mexico City, Mexico. She enrolled at Gustavus because she wanted to study in the U.S. and after looking at several schools, she knew Gustavus was the one.
Martinez is planning to major in Business Management and minor in Communication Studies.
In the future, Martinez plans to work in the U.S. for a while before looking for graduate programs that interest her.
“I would like to find a job for at least a year, because that’s what my visa allows me to do… My plan is to start looking for opportunities, like a Master’s program, a year after I graduate, and then see how [it] goes,” Martinez said.
Martinez is currently the Public Relations Manager of the Organization of LatinX American Students (OLAS) at Gustavus.
“I was involved in the organization last year and I really liked it because it showed me the many LatinX cultures on campus,” Martinez said.
As an international student, being away from home is hard for Martinez.
“Most of the international students don’t get the option of driving an hour to get home, but that’s what I [expected] before coming here. I knew what I was going to go through… I like being independent. I’m constantly talking to [my family], so I don’t feel lonely,” Martinez said.
Martinez’s host parents, whom she was matched with through a host program in St. Peter, have helped her throughout this situation.
When COVID-19 broke out in the U.S., Martinez returned to her home country, though she gave the decision much thought.
“I did go home… because I was kind of scared of what was going on and whether they were going to let me stay [in the country]. I was thinking about the best option for me,” Martinez said.
“I was kind of sad because I didn’t get to finish my first year. I don’t feel like a sophomore now because I didn’t have the experience of spring here or [see] what happens with all the activities on campus,” Martinez said.
“In that way, I’m still a first-year student because I’ve never been through that before… I’m not saying that my situation was worse, but being at home for so many months made me want to come back,” Martinez said.
Martinez returned to living on campus at the beginning of this school year.
When thinking about the pandemic, Martinez has noticed differences between COVID-19 regulations in Mexico and in the U.S.
“I know that in Mexico there were not a lot of regulations… there were some, but there were not a lot of consequences, like if you don’t wear your mask outside no one says anything. We’re not handling it really well,” Martinez said.
Martinez also noted her own family took virus precautions seriously.
“I experienced [different regulations] with my family… [they were] super strict about it, so I was truly in my house for three months, and my mom was the only one who left to get groceries and things. No one else could leave the house. I was literally quarantining all the time for three months,” Martinez said.
“I hope to get the entire American experience of being in college, and also to have a good basis to start my career, so I can actually get a job. I tell my friends I’ve met here ‘don’t forget about me if I leave the country someday [for my career],’” Martinez said.
“I made the decision to study in the U.S. and I don’t want to leave it.”
Living on The Hill is important to every Gustie, but especially for international students. Given the difficult travel circumstances this year, Martinez is very happy that she is able to be back on campus for her sophomore year.