Alejandra Zarate Garcia came to Mercyhurst this spring as part of an exchange program to enjoy a cultural and academic experience.
Alejandra, a 21-year-old junior, is currently facing many changes and new adventures since she got here from Merida, a city in Mexico where she attended Anahuac Mayab University. Alejandra’s university gave her a lot of options to study abroad; nevertheless she picked the United States without hesitation.
“I had a lot of options. I could have gone to Europe, but I decided to come here because of my major, which is marketing. I thought that this is the best place to study that,” Garcia said.
Later on she explained that the reason why she chose to come to Erie, Pa over any other city or state in the country, was because she wanted to try something new and different.
Due to her J1 visa status, she can only stay here for a total of six months. Although she is only staying for a short period of time, she is really grasping this opportunity and enjoying Mercyhurst.
“I am in love with my Mercyhurst. Everyone here is super nice and friendly. I am having a lot of fun,” Garcia said.
Moreover, she really likes that there’s a dining place you can go to and get as much food as you want to with just the swipe of a card, a privilege you wouldn’t find in her university back in Mexico.
She added that her favorite part of her day is walking every morning to her classes, enjoying the snow and the campus itself.
One of the first major changes she had to go through was adjusting to the snow, since it was the first she has been exposed to this kind of coldness. According to Garcia, it was the first time she had ever touched the snow. She is, however, really enjoying it.
For Garcia, the hardest part of coming to Mercyhurst was leaving her family behind. Nonetheless, she states that both her parents are happy that she was given this opportunity.
“My mom is super happy and excited. They’ve been supportive of me. They are very proud of me,” Garcia said.
Even if it was a major change in her life, Alejandra knows that everything is worth it.
“I would definitely recommend Mercyhurst University to my friends and family,” Garcia said.
Now, she has an entire semester ahead of her, with a lot of experience waiting to happen.