Meet international alum, Ariel Pueyo Encinas from Bolivia! Ariel graduated in May of 2016 earning a Bachelor of Arts in French, with a dual major in Political Science and International Affairs. Ariel was an exceptional student, maintaining high honors throughout her time here.
Ariel has many fond memories of UNH, but there are a couple that stand out particularly well in her mind. One of her favorites was being an Orientation Leader for incoming international students in both 2013 and again in 2015. She says of that time, "When I first arrived at UNH as a freshman, I was anxious about how I would go about meeting people or navigating life in college, or in the U.S. as a whole. This is where the amazing folks at OISS and UNH's international community stepped in. I was immediately welcomed by OISS staff and other international students from day 1 of orientation."
Feeling that sense of welcome in a new place is so important for international students, especially when problems arise and you are far from home. Ariel found a safe place within the international community and knew she had somewhere to turn when she needed a helping hand, whether it was to help find a dentist to remove pesky wisdom teeth, or find answers to complicated tax questions. So it was a no brainer for her when OISS was accepting applications for orientation leaders. She knew she had to apply. She goes on to say, "Being an OL gave me the opportunity to be a mentor of sorts to other international students and give back to the wonderful community and individuals who helped shape me into the person I am today."
Since graduating from UNH, Ariel has been quite busy. She returned to her hometown of Cochabamba and began working at a small, fair trade manufacturing house that works with female artisans across the city and the surrounding valleys. She was responsible for sales and customer relations for the company's leather goods and recyclable plastic goods department. She also helped the owner with a variety of projects, her favorite of which was a math tutoring program for the artisan's children during the summer break. Later, Ariel began working as a research and project assistant at a human rights and drug policy NGO drafting grant reports and proposals, among other things. During her second year at the NGO, Ariel applied for a fellowship through Princeton in Asia and was offered a position at the Lao Rugby Federation in Vientiane, Lao PDR. She has had quite the wild ride and been doing such great work!
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to her time in Asia and she returned home to be closer to her family. Back in Bolivia, Ariel started teaching English at the Universidad Privada Boliviana, one of the top universities in the country, and the top business school. She just completed her second semester.
Ariel recalls having many great professors at UNH, especially within the French department. She says, "Both Professor Claire Malarte-Feldman and Professor Nadine Berenguier really marked my time at UNH, and even though I have since switched to a different field (education), I would like to recreate everything I learned from them as educators, individuals, and mentors, and strive to inspire and connect with my students in the same way."
In conclusion, Ariel offers three sage pieces of advice to new international students:
1. It will get VERY COLD. Perhaps colder than you would have ever imagined, but don't be afraid and remember to save up and invest in a good winter jacket and snow boots. Everyone should experience at least one New England winter in their lifetime.
2. Use all the resources available to you and don't be scared to ask for help. If you have a question or need help with something, chances are someone at OISS has the answer or can point you in the right direction!
3. Say yes to as many school events, clubs, and opportunities as you can!
Kate Luksha | Global Education Center | Kate.Luksha@unh.edu
June 3, 2021