Herald’s summer intern comes from Bolivia via KU

By Angie Baldelomar

Writing about oneself is hard. What part is relevant to tell? The scar I have on my right hand from when I fell down and tried to protect the ice-cream cone I was holding from going to waste? Or the time my little brother was born?

Or should I just tell you my name, hometown and the rest of the usual getting-to- know-you questions?

Sports seems a safe choice. Almost everyone can relate to the feeling when their favorite team scores, no matter sport you follow. We get so attached to our teams that every win, and therefore, every loss becomes our own. Sports can unite an entire country. A huge part of who I am is my passion for soccer.

Of course, growing up in a country that loves soccer might have contributed to that. I grew up in a city called Santa Cruz de la Sierra, which is in Bolivia, a country in the middle of South America. In that part of the world – almost everywhere in the world, really – soccer is the main sport. It tends to be labeled as a “men’s” sport, but I did not care. I still loved it.

I have three younger brothers, and none of them like soccer. They may watch a couple of games here and there, but never with the same passion my dad and I share for it. I am the only daughter, which could be unpleasant if it were not for the fact that I am the oldest. So, in my house it is my mom and I against the boys.

As I told you before, I grew up in Santa Cruz, a city about the size of Denver on the east side of Bolivia – the least known side of the country. If you have heard of Bolivia before, you may know about the west side of the country, where the Andes mountains are, along with the biggest salt flat in the world. This is why this side is more known than the side I’m from.

In my city, it is hot almost all year long, and winter time is not winter at all. The lowest I remembered it being (and it was only one day) was around 36 F.

It never snows either; in fact, the first time I saw snow was when I came to the United States.

Education is a lot different as well. In Bolivia, the schedule for high school is fixed, which means you take four years of biology, four years of math, four years of physics, and so on, no electives. I was surprised to learn that it is not like that in high schools here.

I knew college was like that, which is also different from colleges in Bolivia, where the curriculum is also fixed. You choose your career before entering college, and they give you a list of the courses you need to take each semester.

Almost two years ago, I came to the United States to pursue my higher education. The irony is that I chose the only country where soccer is not as popular. However, I think because of this, soccer is now such a huge part of my identity. It is my identifying trait.

This fall, I will be a junior at the University of Kansas. As you probably guessed, I’m studying journalism – along with film and media studies. And when my advisor told me I should try to find an internship for the summer, I was ready for it.

The Oberlin Herald looked like a great opportunity for me to hone the skills I was learning in my classes, especially because I do believe we tend to learn a lot better from experience than from just theory. I was eager to experience for myself a city full of tradition as Oberlin.

I come from a long ways (and of course, I’m talking about more than the almost five-

hour drive from Lawrence) but I am ready to learn (and grow), not only from the people at The Herald, but also from the rest of the Oberlin community. After all, people change people.

This story was published on the front page of The Oberlin Herald’s print edition on June 22, 2016.


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