Juan M. Sucre '16
Tell us about your international journey.
I was born in Caracas, Venezuela. Both my parents are from there and all my siblings were born there, too. I am the youngest of four. When I was two years old we moved to Monterrey, Mexico. Two years later to Jakarta, Indonesia. Two years after that back to Monterrey where we spent the longest time we've ever been in one location: four years. After that London, United Kingdom, for two years. Then it was Madrid, Spain, where we spent three years. Finally after those three years, we moved back to Monterrey where I completed my last two years of high school and then I moved here to Sarah Lawrence (my parents are still in Monterrey). Although I was brought up all over the world, I still hold very dearly the fact that I was born in Venezuela. It is my home and will always be so.
What made you want to attend college in the U.S.? What, if any, concerns/challenges/opportunities did this present?
Going to college in the U.S. was always the plan since my eldest brother decided to go to University of Chicago after graduating high school in Monterrey. Then it was my older sister who went to George Washington University and by that time, college in the U.S. seemed like the default plan for both my other sister and I. I guess because of our education in American and international schools, college in the U.S. seemed like the best option for our higher education to continue. Colleges in the U.S. offer us a very high quality education and so many options in terms of what to study.
How did you learn about Sarah Lawrence College?
A family friend of ours is a private college advisor and knows me very well. While searching for colleges and knowing my interest in the arts and academics equally so, he told me to check out Sarah Lawrence, and so I did.
What made you choose to attend SLC?
I loved the combination and balance between appreciation for the arts and strong emphasis on academics. I also wanted to go somewhere small with a campus (as opposed to an in-city campus, like say NYU) where you can get to meet most of the people or at least see familiar faces as you walk by.
What is your areas of concentration?
International Relations, social sciences.
What extracurricular activities are you involved in?
I am on the soccer team and the basketball team.
What was your first-year transition to life at SLC like?
It was great. Like any other first-year student I was nervous at first for the obvious reasons of living alone for the first time, not knowing exactly where things are, but having moved schools so many times in my life that didn't turn out to be that hard. It was the soccer team though that made my transition much easier. I started training the first Monday and ever since that practice they have all been my core group of friends. It was really nice having them as friends because I was able to ask them anything about the school and they would tell me everything I needed to know.
How would you describe your experience at SLC so far?
I love it here. Everyone is so open to everything. I've heard conversations of all sorts throughout campus and the environment is incredibly comfortable. You can find things for every different taste one may have in music, sports, hobbies, etc.
What is the community like at SLC?
In my experience I feel like there is no real distinction between the international community and the U.S. nationals community, it is all one community where international students and U.S. citizens all interact. I also feel like "groups" of friends don't really exist here exactly, almost everybody knows each other and it's nice because you get to meet lots of people from the entire student body. Another thing to add is the fact that all classes (first-year, sophomore, junior, and senior) interact with each other and people don't really give importance to whether or not you may be a sophomore or a senior.
How about the local community—have you spent a lot of time in the surrounding area? How about New York City?
Having New York City so near is awesome. I have friends from high school that go to college in the city so it's great that I'm able to see them every once in a while. You can also find countless things to do in the city on a weekend for example. I'd say I go into the city maybe three or four times a month. Although, if you need something from the supermarket for example, you can always bike into Bronxville and get things there, too.
SLC values international students because they bring to campus the richness and excitement of a global perspective. Can you give us some examples of how your perspective has made a difference in classroom discussions, etc.?
I guess that by having lived in different places I have been exposed to a lot of different views and ideas on so many things, which perhaps aren't the most common in the U.S. I took an International Relations class where I was able to give insight, for example, on how my own country engaged in foreign politics with other countries, something that probably wouldn't have been brought up in the normal class discussion.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I'd like to think that I will be working somewhere where international interaction is a very important part of the job. I love to travel and get to know different cultures, and I find intercultural interaction is of crucial importance in today's world.
What advice do you have for international students considering SLC?
SLC is a great place for international students, because as I mentioned people are incredibly open and are genuinely interested in the fact that you are from somewhere else. You are also treated completely the same as any other scholar in the college, with knowledge as everyone's mutual interest.