Gabriela M. Morales Medina
Does your name have special meaning? Not that I’m aware of, but I think it’s funny how I got my name. My mom knew she wanted to have a daughter named Gabriela since she was a kid so as soon as she got pregnant, she started calling me Gabriela. Now my dad didn’t love the name at first, so he argued that it should be changed so “it would better match my last name” and my mom just replied that if that was the case, she’d just have to “find someone with a different last name.”
Hometown: Cataño, Puerto Rico, which is just a small town across the bay from San Juan.
Major & Class Year: English for Corporate Communications, Class of 2019
Tell us about yourself: I’m a nerd. I love anything and everything Marvel and am obsessed with a huge amount of Netflix shows (with House of Cards being my current favorite). Apart from that, I adore sport, specially volleyball and football (or as people in the U.S. call it, soccer). Lastly, I’m a bit of a makeuphollic and will cry tears of joy over getting a really good highlight.
Why did you choose to come to CBU? I knew that I wanted to challenge myself and learn to see things from points of views that are not my own. I also wanted to go to a small school with a sense of community. CBU had all of that and more.
What advice do you have for new international students to help them adjust to life in the U.S.? Just take it one day at a time. The culture shock can be overwhelming at times, but the best thing you can do is take things easy. Also, try everything! Yes, there will be some things you don’t like but you’ll also discover so many other things that you will absolutely LOVE.
If CBU students visited Puerto Rico, where should they go and why? EVERYWHERE! I’m a huge fan of my country but if I had to choose just three places, I’d say Old San Juan (pictured above) because of the amazing amount of history, food, music and art that are concentrated in just one place; Flamenco Beach in the municipality of Viequez, because when you think of the blue-sky-and-white-sand beach of your dreams, this is the one you have in mind; and El Yunque, which is one of the world’s best rainforests, filled with wildlife that you can’t see anywhere else.
What is the name of your favorite restaurant in Memphis? And why? Young Avenue Deli! Followed closely by Rendezvous. They’re serve very different types of food but have a similar ‘relaxed vibe’ and both taste so good that they make my soul happy.
Do you have a favorite class or professor here at CBU? I honestly love most of my professors, so I can’t choose just one. Same goes for my classes but I will say that all my Honors and Special Topics classes have been amazing! I love the in-depth discussion that develops in these types of courses, and it’s always great to be able to take a class in the area that a professor is truly passionate about.
Do you have a favorite hangout spot in Memphis? Java Cabana. It’s this little hole-in-the-wall place but they have the best hot chocolates in Memphis. Additionally, the weird coffee-house vibe it has is great for when you need to disconnect from college and just enjoy yourself for a little bit.
Is there anything else the CBU campus community needs to know about you or your culture? Just that Puerto Rico is a beautiful place that is so much more than warm weather and great scenery. We are a people with a long history, intricate language, and rich culture that can’t be seen anywhere else. San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capitol, is older the United States; Salsa (the dance, not the food) was born in Puerto Rico; and we are home to the Arecibo Observatory, which holds the second largest radio telescope in the world. Yes, we are a small nation, but we are extremely proud. Puerto Ricans will show off their flag, no matter where they go or where they were born; if you don’t believe me, ask Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, or Ricky Martin. Long story short, learn more about Puerto Rico. You might be surprised at what you discover.
If anyone wants to nominate a student for the Spotlight or if a student is interested in being in the Spotlight, they can email Stephanie Mathis, International Student Services Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow International Student Services on Instagram (@cbu_iss), Facebook (search for @issacadserv), and Twitter (@CBU_ISS)!
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