Alexandra Rios (Class of 2013) from Venezuela, studying Earth and Space Sciences
Which universities and/or schools have you attended in the past?
I attended Colegio Jefferson in Caracas, Venezuela.
What is your international background?
My background isn’t really that international: I lived in Caracas my whole life, and both my parents were born there.
How did you hear about Jacobs University and why have you chosen to study here?
I first heard of Jacobs when an admissions representative gave a presentation in my school and I loved it since… But deciding to come was a completely different experience. I didn’t know which major to study here, so I applied to Jacobs really late. Nevertheless, as soon as I got accepted I knew I wanted to come here. I never regretted it – I feel like this really is the right place for me.
What is your major and why have you chosen this field of study? Is there a particular subject within this field which you find especially fascinating?
My major is Earth and Space Sciences. As I said before, when I came to Jacobs I wasn’t completely sure of what I wanted to study, so I went into Electrical and Computer Engineering. Halfway through the first semester I realized that it wasn’t the major for me. Meanwhile, my Earth and Space Sciences lectures were my favorite, so I switched. Within Earth and Space, I really like Environment and Resources. I chose this because I think there are very interesting career prospectives, and because I enjoy studying for it.
Why do you think a student who is interested in your major might choose Jacobs University?
Because it really offers great opportunities. Just to name a few, there’s around 6 excursions, labs in different areas, helpful faculty (who know you by your name), interesting courses, and an amazing community within faculty and students.
Which special features/differences do you see in your classes in comparison with other institutions (schools or universities) where you may have studied previously?
For me, the main difference is that here at Jacobs, people come from so many different backgrounds; you can learn so much more just by being in the same class as they are. Other differences include: having tutorials to make it easier to understand everything, having such small classes (usually 15 people max.), getting so much help from upperclassmen, and having professors that are so eager to give you advice and guidance.
If you have already had this opportunity, please tell us more about any internships/practical work experience.
I had the chance to do an internship in Germany with a consulting company called Plejades. I got the contact through my professor in Jacobs, and I worked there for 2 months. It was a great opportunity to have hands-on experience and get a taste of the real world.
I also had a job on campus: I was Teacher Assistant, so I held tutorials for the first year course (along with two other students). This was one of my favorite experiences in Jacobs.
Lastly, I also am the Student Contact for ESS. So I get to help prospective students get familiar with our university and out major.
What are your general or specific career goals?
My ideal scenario would be to stay in Europe after graduation, work for a while, and then continue studying. I want to gain experience, as to be able to know which specific field I like the most before getting a Masters.
What do you like best about the campus or colleges?
I like how the campus and colleges are like our own little ‘bubble’ in which we basically have everything we need, it’s easier to study and to build your own ‘family’ here.
1st impressions of the university:
Regarding the place: it’s lovely. Lots of green spaces, very clean and modern. Regarding the people: super helpful and happy.
What are you passionate about beyond university extracurriculars?
Traveling, music, laughing.
What 5 adjectives describe you?
Optimistic, caring, happy, Latin, sincere. (I must admit, I cheated in this one, my friends helped me).
What do you seek for in your university life?
Learning. My priority is academics, but I also want to know more about different cultures, meet new people, visit places, and, of course, have fun! The experiences I’ve had here outside the classroom are what really made me grow as a person.
What do you do for relaxation/recreation?
I watch TV shows, dance, or just hang out with my friends. My weekends are usually spent getting together with friends, either at the bar or just room parties.
Which clubs or activities do you do on campus and why those?
I do Cheerleading, Theater, and some types of dancing. I joined cheerleading just because I wanted to try something new but I ended up having lots of fun and meeting new people. In Theater, I am helping backstage, and I do two things I love: bossing people around and organizing everything. Dancing is just something to keep my mind off of studying.
What kinds of tips would you give to someone coming to Jacobs University from your home region?
Be willing to accept new cultures and ideas but always remember who you are and where you come from.
Describe one memorable experience you had here on campus.
Impossible; there are way too many.
Describe your typical day in (approx. )10 sentences.
Wake up with just enough time for my morning classes. Get ready and have breakfast, and by then, somehow, I’m late. Get coffee and hurry to class. Go back to C3 for lunch, where I catch up with my friends (and where most of the inside jokes take place). Then I either go study, back to class or… sometimes just take a nap. Dinner, then tutorials/dance/cheerleading/theater. Afterwards, I usually review for my classes, and (finally!) go to sleep. At some point during the day I check my Jacobs email (which takes an eternity), skype with my family, and end up in Facebook – wasting time. And, of course, not a day goes by without a bit of drama, either a deep ‘Humanities’ or a geeky ‘Sciences’ conversation, us coming up with an inside joke, or a new awesome weekend plan.