Soraya and Juan Molina
Coming from El Salvador and having spent a year in France, Soraya Molina was not sure how she would adjust to the small-town atmosphere of Jacksonville and Jacksonville State University.
As she prepares to graduate in the spring with her bachelor's degree in Communications, she says living here has been a pleasant surprise and a wonderful experience.
She and her brother, Juan, a freshman marketing major, both live in the International House, where Soraya serves as a resident assistant. As a result, they have made friendships with people from all over the world, and had many opportunities to give back to their fellow IH residents and the community.
"The people in Jacksonville have been so nice to us," Soraya says. "Everyone has been welcoming, and I have had the time of my life."
As members of the International House Program, Soraya and Juan have the opportunity to be involved in many extracurricular activities. They perform community service and attend churches, schools, and civic clubs to talk about their cultures and their experiences at JSU.
After being separated for a couple of years before Juan came to JSU, the siblings appreciate living under one roof again.
"It's been fun having my brother here on campus," Soraya says. "I left home in 2002, so it had been a long time since we had lived together. (At the International House it) is close enough that I can see him everyday, but big enough that we can each do our own thing. We do spend time together on the weekends, since we do share a lot of friends."
In addition to her classes and activities with the International House, Soraya works on campus at the JSU Foundation.
She says that her time at JSU has prepared her well to face the real world that awaits after graduation, not only because of the education she and her brother received, but because the experience of living independently is invaluable.
Photo & story courtesy Angie Finley.
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