Coming from Puerto Rico, I found myself afraid to go to a university outside of the island I call home. It was a scary thought to be in a completely different state, alone, diving into a new phase of life. The only way I could go back was if I bought a flight ticket to see my family and the people who I grew up with. Regardless of how overwhelming everything seemed, I did not hesitate to get on that plane and fly to Philadelphia with mixed emotions rushing over me. Saint Joseph’s University offers a program called AIM, which really facilitated the whole process. I was able to move in a few days early, became familiar with the campus, and even met some of the most amazing people I know.  Living in Sourin Residence Center, I was nervous to meet not only my roommate but the twelve other girls I would be sharing a suite with. I must have lucked out because these thirteen girls are the people who have made my experience at SJU unforgettable.

Within the first week, we were planning road trips, eating dinner every day together, and getting to know each other to every detail. Saint Joseph’s really allowed me to feel at home, in a place that is the complete opposite of what I am used to. Most of the faculty and staff make an effort to get to know you and genuinely care for you. My English 101 professor, who knew I was far away from home, would always come to class with new information for me, from discounts to Puerto Rican festivals in the city. If it were not for her, I would have missed out on a lot that Philadelphia and SJU has to offer, and for that, I will forever be grateful.  The best part about this University is undoubtedly its people. Of course, I have my Puerto Rican friends who I can always rely on, but this school gives me the access to meet so many different people who genuinely try to help in whatever way possible. Although it seems like there are a lot of students, everybody seems familiar, and it adds to the comfort the school gives. Overall, my first semester was a success. With my professors available to help me and my friends there to bring joy to my day, there is nothing I would have changed.

-Nara Finkelstein, ‘22