Meet Francesca E. Del Pino, Student at the University of Florida English Language Institute

I always knew I wanted to study abroad. That my place in the world was outside my country and that I had to go and find it. Initially I wanted to go to New Zealand to study, but due to the epidemic and a series of social and political events that happened in Chile at that time, there was no longer an option to study. So I started my own Research to study in the United States .

I fell in love with the world of opportunities this country has to offer and all those “just like in the movies” opportunities! “The moments I will experience. The real college experience, which is so common in the US but so unreal in many other countries, and the reason there are so many different cultures in the US, was the main reason I wanted to be there. I would be surrounded by so much diversity and so many different communities that I was sure I would find my people and discover a new sense of belonging that I could never have found in my own country.

2. Why did you choose your university?

During my research, I came across the University of Florida: it is one of the Top 5 public universities It has beautiful architecture and tremendous university pride. The moment I started learning about this was the moment I decided to try to do it. It was love at first sight, from its location in the Sunshine State to the wide range of specialties it offered. I loved it all.

I started watching YouTube videos about it, looking for items at local thrift stores in Chile, making PowerPoint presentations to my family about why I was going, drawing a logo and “hanging in my room and all kinds of different things.” I’ve been involved since day one, so I wanted to make sure my English was at a good enough level to succeed in such highly academic environments.

That’s when I found out English Language Institute (Ellie). It was made for people like me. Individuals looking to expand their academic knowledge of English as a second language in order to continue their studies in the United States. ELI was my first choice from the beginning, I started sending emails long before applications opened, and I applied the same day. I think it’s safe to say that I love the University of Florida.

3. Have you taken any courses outside your major that you enjoyed?

to’ ELI offers three courses The first is grammar, the second is listening and speaking, and the third is reading and writing. Since ELI is its own entity, I cannot take any other courses offered by the university, and my courses are non-credit and are separated by English language levels. So, I can’t say that I took any classes outside of my major because I would be studying something related to the humanities.

4. What difficulties did you face and how did you manage them?

maybe Visa process , it’s complex and full of important requirements that you don’t always fully understand. The stakes are so high that you can’t help but feel overwhelmed and sometimes want to give up. The way I handled the situation was to over-prepare myself for the accident Visa interview And I did a lot of research to make sure I was prepared.

However, the day of the interview was probably one of the most stressful days of my life. Pro Tip: You can’t wear glasses for your visa photo!! When I showed up with my application filled with every possible document they could ask for, and they told me my photo didn’t meet the requirements, I wanted to cry. But the good news is that I was able to take another photo and mail it to them. There is always something you can do, just ask and keep trying, everything will work out even if things don’t go as planned, trust me!

5. What is your favorite place on campus?

Campus From the University of Florida Absolutely beautiful, so every place is my favorite, but “Plaza of the Americas” might be the best of all. I walk by it every day on my way to class and there’s always something going on: maybe an organizational expo, an event, an activity, or just a club. There are hammocks you can rent, the library is just a few steps away, and every day there is also a “Krishna Lunch” in the square. Overall, it’s a great place to spend time, relax, or check out new features and activities the university has to offer.

6. What do you want to do after graduation?

After graduating from ELI, I will be applying to different universities in the US to pursue a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and the University of Florida will be my first choice. My studies are not finished yet, so I will continue to live as a student in this beautiful country. After I get my university degree, I will return to Chile and start working in my field and maybe in the future I will get a master’s degree, but I’m not sure yet.

7. What are your summer plans?

Maybe explore different beaches in Florida with friends, visit local restaurants in Gainesville and make the most of my time in the US.

8. Does your university have any fun events that you have attended or are looking forward to?

The University of Florida offers “Gator Days” and “Gator Nights” where they host fun activities for all UF students. They created a Halloween haunted house with candy, free music, hot chocolate, Christmas carols, and many other holiday-related activities. Movie screenings, trips to Disney, and many different events for all of their students.

The ELI Institute offers Cultural immersion programme “, which is a series of daily events to get used to speaking English in a relaxed atmosphere and have fun. Picnics, sports, pool parties, museum nights, skiing, meals, amusement parks and many other different activities every day for you to enjoy and share with your classmates and teachers .

9. Have you traveled to the United States? What are your favorite places or where do you want to go?

I’ve only been to Florida so far, but there are so many different places on my bucket list now, like New York or Las Vegas. Both are very popular tourist areas and must be visited. I also want to visit New Orleans for its rich culture and diversity, as well as its history, music and interesting atmosphere. Although Florida alone has been a great experience so far, it is full of things to do and places to see.

10. What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a student?

To be completely honest, just walking around campus and taking in my surroundings was a special memory for me. I found myself moved to achieve this great accomplishment of studying abroad. the First day of orientation It was one of my favorite days. I realized that everything I had worked so hard on had finally paid off, as I met all the people who had gone through the exact same process and felt the same excitement as I did. The overwhelming warmth of a new community welcoming you with open arms is one of the first times I felt a real, authentic sense of belonging that I will never forget.

11. Describe your experience in three words.

It’s really worth it.

12. What would you say to students who are thinking about studying in the United States?

Take a step of faith. It is a life-changing experience that will help you in your personal growth. You will learn about many different cultures and people. It can be a difficult process, but if you have the opportunity to change your life and step into the unknown, do it. Break the cycle and make a decision that will affect your future for the better. It’s a rewarding experience and you won’t regret even trying.

Find that thing that moves you and makes you want to keep going when things get tough, hold on to it and remember why you started. Some may say it’s not a big deal, but if you really think about it, we both know how important it is. Don’t minimize it, accept it with pride and move on, you got this.