Paula Ferradas Oral History, 2021/11/22


Title (Dublin Core)

Paula Ferradas Oral History, 2021/11/22
A new country, a new experience - Paula Ferradas freshmen in-person experience

Description (Dublin Core)

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka is an international student at St. Mary’s University from Lima, Peru. After applying last year to St. Mary’s, Ferradas has come to the U.S to start her dream to become a good professional. In this interview we ask her experience as a new international student and how the resources in the university have given her the possibility to grow.

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Curator's Tags (Omeka Classic)

Contributor's Tags (a true folksonomy) (Friend of a Friend)

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Interviewer (Bibliographic Ontology)

Brissa Campos Toscano

Interviewee (Bibliographic Ontology)

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka

Transcription (Omeka Classic)

Brissa Campos 0:00
So the following interview was conducted with Paula Ferradas for international student oral history project. It took place on November 22 2021 at St. Mary’s University, then interviewer is Brissa Campos Toscano. So Paula, thank you for being here. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 0:19
Sure. Thank you for inviting me Brissa. So Well, my name, as you mentioned, is Paula Ferradas Hiraoka. And I'm a freshman at St. Mary’s University. And actually, my major is international and global studies, mostly known here as IGS.

Brissa Campos 0:37
Okay, so the first question is, I would like to know about how do you apply for St. Mary’s, so tell me your experience being admitted to St. Mary's University?

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 0:48
Sure. So actually, the previous school I was a marianist school in Peru, and well, that school has a partnership with the University. So the university was actually giving scholarships to different students. So I said I would like to apply to one. And I get a little bit of help with the internationals program in my school, not not like a huge help, but in my little bit have like clarifications and all that kind of indications. They told me like, Okay, you have to do this, and this complete this now, okay, like following the steps, trying to do everything correctly to not make it again, honestly.

Brissa Campos 1:41
Okay. And after being accepted, like after the admission process, how was the experience to apply for the visa.

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 1:49
So, it was actually really complicated, because because this was like 2021, still with COVID. The process was really challenging, at least for me and my family, because the embassy in Peru was actually closed because of the circumstances we are. And the a lot of people were traveling to the United States to get vaccinated. And also, the the change of the government in Peru actually influenced it a lot. So the embassy didn't gain a lot of visas. They were like, really restricted in that in that topic. And also, like, we had to schedule an appointment with them. And actually, like, my first appointment was for April of 2022. So it was way out of like, like, the time I was supposed to be here. So I got, like, emergency appointment for coming here. And thankfully, they gave it to me. And well, here I am.

Brissa Campos 3:11
And during this visa process, could you describe the relationship with the university? Like, how were they asking you how was everything like the which office?

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 3:25
Okay, so actually, the Office of the international students program helped me a lot, like sending me what to do at that time, because honestly, I was freaking out. Like, it was so complicated for me and my family, the instructions were like, so messed up. So the International Students Office helped me a lot. Also, the person in charge of me at the time, who was Gerardo Salgado, helped me a lot, because he seemed like, Okay, you have to do this, this complete this. And he was like, really patient, since I told you like, everything that happened in that day, for example, if he questioned me, like, hey, what, how could you please like, tell me an update about how the things are going with your i 20. And what your schedule, and I literally told him like, Okay, I woke up, at and literally until, until what I got in that time, so yeah, he was really patient. And also, like, the university was also like, really, patients really grateful thank God. Cuz they were like, questioning me like, every five minutes like, Hey, do you have your schedule? Or hey, do you have something like that? And yeah, and they also like sent me this recommendation card, recommendation letter. Yeah.

Brissa Campos 4:58
Oh, yeah.

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 4:59
Yeah, well, They like explained my situation to the embassy. And this actually, like helped me a lot to off my f1 visa.

Brissa Campos 5:07
So you did feel welcome in the university even before coming here?

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 5:13
Yeah, everyone, here was really open to everyone. They gave me like, a lot of opportunity, like, Hey, you can do this or this, like great if this not happens, then maybe we can do this. Like, they gave me a lot of options of what to do if something didn't work. So yeah, they were really open. I was really grateful for that.

Brissa Campos 5:34
And was this the admissions office? Or was it the Center for International Programs like for admissions office, it will be Gerardo Salgado at that time. And for the center of International Programs, it will be Miss Melissa Piedra at that time, so who do you feel was the most helpful in that in that moment that you were like with a lot of emotions?

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 5:56
I think the office with Melissa

Brissa Campos 6:00

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 6:00
Piedra yeah, the international office. Because they were like the most that sent me the emails of what to do. And had are the was just like asking me like, Hey, how are you doing? Or hey, where are the things you are doing know that. But actually, like Melissa helped my father in and I because I was doing all the processes when my father and Melissa help us a lot of like, Hey, you have to do this and this and if this doesn't work, then you have to try this. So it really like help us all with my father not.

Brissa Campos 6:33
So now we were talking before coming here. I would like to know in the present. So right now we're already like finishing the school. Summing up. So could you describe your experience with the university so far? To go more in depth, How has it changed from when you came here to from before like applying an old process until you came here has any type of relationship with the university changed better? It stayed the same?

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 7:03
actually, like, when I was applying, I had like this expectations like yeah, this is gonna be like, good, or this is gonna be like that and something like that. And now being here now and in school, I realized that my relation with the university like grew up a lot. Now, even since day one, I feel like really welcome. And they like gave me this chances to grow up not only as a person but as a scholar also. Yeah, when the university helped me a lot, also making this new friendships and help in like, I made friendships with sophomores, juniors, seniors, not only because of my major, but also like, because of part of the marianist leadership program the MLP. This helped me a lot like, Hey, you have to do this or this or, like, they offered me some opportunities to do some activities with them. So I feel really Welcome to the University.

Brissa Campos 8:16
So would you say that the relationship with the university is still the same?

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 8:21
I think it grew up better. Like I had some expectations now that I'm here. I know that this expectations are way, way more than I imagined. So yeah, I'm happy.

Brissa Campos 8:37
That's good to know. So my last question, it will be like a close up. And I want your honest opinion about it. So after being an St. Mary’s student for already, we could say a semester, completing a semester, what would you advise to the center for international programs to improve as a international student at St. Mary's, what would you say could be better.

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 9:03
I think the quality time like when I was like messaging to the internationals office, I usually like receive their answer, like, one week later, so yeah, I had some problem with that. But like, because I knew that times are really easy right now. With with COVID, with all the changes that the Office has suffered, so I would like I know like, what you guys experimented, but actually, like I really like want to congratulate them, I guess, because even with these hard times, they even made like a really good job. I expected a little bit more, but this is like what I received and I'm all I can be grateful for that.

Brissa Campos 10:02
Could you describe more what you mean by you, you wanted more?

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 10:07
So like, talking about the time, like I expected, like, a little bit of less waiting time. Like, I was like not expecting like, Okay, five minutes after that. I want to serve an email. No. But less than a week, like maybe one two days, maybe that can be a really good improvement.

Brissa Campos 10:30
Okay, and about the information you were given by the university, do you feel that it fulfill your expectations?

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 10:38
Yeah, what the university gave me about the all the information what I had to do, it was really was really good. It really completed my expectations,

Brissa Campos 10:52

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 10:53
So every information they gave me, it was really good, the organization was really good. And

Brissa Campos 11:11
you can say it Spanish, and I can help you translate it.

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 11:14
No its Okay, but also like the, I guess, like also the time maybe, like, influence it a little bit. Because there were, as I mentioned, before, I knew like this information, or when they bring me like news about what was gonna happen or what I was supposed to do. Me Maybe that also like influences. I was expecting, like one or two waiting days. So it will be time management, maybe even better, maybe a little bit more time management, because like all the information that said that send, like the office was really good, the quality of information was really good. But I think they have to improve a little bit of the time management.

Brissa Campos 12:02
Yeah, that's good. So my last question, this is the last one to close out, is what advice would you give not for the center of International Programs? But I will set maybe you as an international student, what would you say that could be improved for your experience to be more, more like happier, more fulfilling for you right now, as an international student in a new country, you have a lot of doubts and a lot of concerns that you but I also you have a lot of excitement, and you want to discover more. So what would you say could improve to feel more welcome at the university?

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 12:39
Wow, that's a really tough question. I, I guess, for everyone, I feel like we have to learn a little bit of the cultures. We have here come into a new country like the United States, they have different festivities, they had different things that I cannot relate to Peru. So I guess my advice for everyone is to study a little bit like of the culture if you're coming here as an international student, but also, I guess, because there are a lot of like Mexican students here also know a little bit more of the mexican culture for example, one experience I had is that I didn't knew what was the day of the dead by ”el dia de los muertos. I didn't knew what was a festivity and all that. So when they explained me I was like, so shocked, because we also like had this ”feriado?”

Brissa Campos 13:43
Yes. Like, it will be like a break. They

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 13:45
like a break day into the I really didn't knew like about what was one we were celebrating. So coming here and you'll learn a lot of new activities, new cultures, new persons also. So we have to study a little bit of different cultures.

Brissa Campos 14:04
Yeah, well. I would really like to thank you for taking this time to talk to me. As you know you if you have any questions about this recording, You can always ask me I will send you the recording just to so you can check it out. If there's any question you have or anything you would like to add, Please let me know. But I would like to thank you so much for this opportunity. And that's it. Thank you

Paula Ferradas Hiraoka 14:26
Thank you so much for inviting me.

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This item was submitted on November 25, 2021 by Brissa Campos Toscano using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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