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Los Angeles   |   Boston   |   Santa Barbara
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ELC Santa Barbara Student Spotlight: Maria Alejandra Mora March 28th, 2016
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself…

I am from Bogota, Colombia.  I have worked as a teacher and at a call center for an American business. Working at a call center helped me with my fluency but I needed to work on my accent. After ELC I want to get my Master’s in Psychology and continue teaching.

What are your hobbies?

I love to dance, especially salsa and cumbia. I also enjoy listening to live music with my friends. In Colombia I go on hikes with my boyfriend every weekend. Each time I travel I like to take beautiful pictures, so now I have many great pictures of Santa Barbara.

Did you experience culture shock when you came to the USA?

Yes I definitely did. At first I did not feel confident in my English so I was afraid to speak to Americans. I was shocked that pedestrians actually follow the rules when crossing the street. I was surprised that traffic and streets are so organized because it is not like that in Colombia! People in Santa Barbara are also very polite and friendly. My culture shock was not negative. It actually opened my eyes to a whole new world in a good way and I hope to bring what I learned back to Colombia.

What do you miss about your country?

The food. Even though the food here is good and I can get fast food easily, it just doesn’t taste the same. I miss special fruits and vegetables that I eat in Colombia that I don’t eat here. I also miss my friends. People in Santa Barbara are very nice but I miss spending time with my friends because we are always so happy and make lots of jokes.

Why did you choose Santa Barbara?

I chose Santa Barbara because it is paradise on Earth!  It’s quiet, beautiful, safe, and clean. I love that the weather is always so nice and I can go to the beach whenever I want. I like to go to Stearns Wharf because I can take beautiful pictures of Santa Barbara. I decided not to go to Los Angeles because it’s a big city like Bogota, and I wanted something different.

What do you like about ELC?

I like that it is small. Everybody here knows everybody. Even if I don’t know someone, I know that I can say hi and they will say hi back. The teachers and staff are very helpful and kind. In the classroom I feel comfortable practicing English and am not scared to ask questions.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

Be open to learning, meeting new people, and receiving corrections from teachers. All of the teachers are trying to help so listen to them. My best advice is to ask any questions you might have even if you think it’s stupid. Try to focus in class and participate in class because it will help you improve.

Maria Alejandra Mora