The perks of an international education
It was about time I presented myself. My name is Emilia Marmolejo López and I’ve been writing for you, the Terranova community, in this blog. This is the first time though, that I’ll be talking about myself. As a few of you know, especially those who were my teachers (big hugs to Julissa, Maritza, Claudia and Rocío!), I am an ex-student from this very special school. I too walked its halls (although the High School Building didn’t exist) and wore those khaki skirts. I benefited greatly from the diversity which Terranova provided my generation of, but more importantly, from making me capable of respecting, appreciating, and seeking diversity. I truly attribute a big part of me winning a scholarship for the last two years of high school in an international boarding school in Italy to Terranova and its teachings.
One of the aspects which makes Terranova one of the best private schools in San Luis Potosí, maybe the best high school, is that it provides students with an international education both academically and socially. It is the very composition of the student body which represents the first encounter with cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic diversity. I think that way I became very sensitive to social issues in Mexico and worldwide and that’s when I knew I would dedicate my life to at least attempt to solve some of these issues. Then, I went to Italy, to a boarding school with 200 students from more than 80 different nationalities and a great variety of socio-economic backgrounds. I got to be surrounded by great minds and amazing people who were as preoccupied with making this world a better place as i am. We also had the International Baccalaureate (IB), which was difficult and challenging but very fulfilling. To this day, I apply skills I learned with the IB, like writing long and short essays. It made my university years very manageable and gave me a head start in academic writing and research which many of my classmates had to develop from scratch. Additionally, it procured me a scholarship at a very prestigious university, UDLAP, and gave me the chance to automatically accredit some courses.
I learned the crucial difference between being ‘tolerant’ or ‘appreciative’ of diversity and truly engaging with difference. One is superficial and pretty, the other one can be uncomfortable but teaches to identify your limitations, to acknowledge your privileges and to never forget that others’ voices and experiences are as valid as yours and even, in some contexts, more important. It was Terranova which made me aware of the incredibly huge, complex, and intriguing world we live in. It encouraged me to seek experiences which showed me how diverse the world is and how easy and difficult it can be to connect with people with completely different backgrounds. These experiences eventually led me to study Cultural Anthropology, a beautiful social science which taught me just how much I don’t know and how complex problems require complex solutions built from the ground up and not the other way around. I think being able to study and grow in an international setting is an enormous privilege and huge responsibility. It requires an open mind and heart and gives so much back. Once you get that opportunity, it becomes really difficult to forget how much our world needs us.