Nilsa posted this the other day and I thought it would be fun to answer it too. First, because it would give you guys an insight into what my life used to be, but mainly because since my experience at university in Venezuela is so different from that which people go through in the US, I thought you might find it interesting. Keep in mind though, I am by no means portraying here the average Latin American college experience. This was my experience, very personal and typical of a very particular Venezuelan population, which is not the majority. So don’t go making any generalizations about Venezuelans based on my experience, ok? Ok then, here goes.
1. Where did you go to college?
We don’t really have colleges in Venezuela. We have either big well known universities or smaller technical institutes. There are now some newer small universities, but they weren’t in existence when I was applying. I went to Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, Venezuela. One of the best private universities in the country/continent, especially for business and education.
2. What did you study?
Early Childhood Education, with an emphasis in educational business administration. We don’t have majors and minors, in fact when you apply to a university, you need to know what degree you want to pursue. Usually, you select 3 different options and they’ll admit you to one of them based on your grades and admission test results. Some universities have a first year of common course everyone needs to take and then you go into your chosen field’s courses for the remaining 4 years.
3. Was college really all that it was cracked up to be?
Not really. I wanted to go to UCV, the oldest public university in the country, the place my parents went to, but there were political issues at the time and my parents didn’t want me to go through that or be at risk in any way, so UCV was not an option for me. By going to a private university I had a very secluded experience, didn’t seem to really get the “universality” of going to a university.
4. How far were you from home?
I lived at home, with my parents, as most students do in Caracas. Only people coming from other states to study in Caracas (the capital and the city with the best schools) live in student rented rooms in homes close to their chosen university, or rent out apartments. Universities in Venezuela don’t have any kind of housing available for neither students or faculty. My home was 5 minutes from the university.
5. Did you have the same roommates all four years?
University is 5 years in Venezuela, but no roommates. My first experience with flatmates was in graduate school, the first time I went to Columbia University in NYC (the second time was to get my doctorate and I lived by myself). I lived in International House a graduate student housing organization, which is about 4 blocks from Teachers College. I lived in a 4 bedroom apartment then and had a rotation of 9 different flatmates during the 3 years I was there, that’s not counting 2 new summer flatmates I had the only summer I stayed in NY.
6. Where did you order food from at 2AM?
I don’t think I ever ordered anything else than pizza in Venezuela. Back then delivery wasn’t as common there.
7. Did you date in college or were you tied down?
I had formal, long term relationships in college. Two of them. I was with my high-school boyfriend for a few years during college and then got into a 5 year relationship right after that. This quickly turned into a long distance relationship after the 2nd year together, not fun.
8. Funniest drunk college moment?
I wasn’t much of a drinker in college. Didn’t acquire the taste for it until later in life. I did organize a few parties as part of the student senate and was main part of them, but mainly had fun drunk free. Graduate school though, was a whole different story… along the lines of Nilsa’s “if you don’t remember it, it didn’t happen” bit.
9. Did you make it to class on time?
Almost never, especially not to the first class of the day. I lived 5 minutes from campus and drove there, but always underestimated the time it would take me to park. They used to tease me because living so close I was usually late. Professors didn’t seem to mind though, I think it was because I was a bit of nerd and ended up graduating Cum Laude with a 4.98/5 GPA in spite of being frequently tardy.
10. What was your favorite class in college?
Childhood development, which is the course I am teaching this quarter at DePaul, score! 🙂
If you feel like it, share your college experience and let me know in the comments where you posted it so I can go read your background. Oh, and yahookitie for not being students any more! 😉


6 responses to “University

  1. I have a good friend who grew up in Venezuela – I’m going to tell her to come read this entry. 🙂

    It’s always interesting to read about the different experiences people have with respect to education/school, etc. Okay – I’m going to give the answers a go.

    1. Where did you go to college?
    I went to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN. It was okay – while the conservative nature kept me out of trouble, it didn’t really give me the college experience I might have enjoyed someplace else. But…yeah, probably saved me from a *lot* more trouble. 😛

    2. What did you study? Biology and Theology. After that, I went to another uni to get my philosophy degree before studying radiation at Harvard. Then on to law school.

    3. Was college really all that it was cracked up to be?

    Nope. Not. At. All. Though I fully admit to wanting to roll my eyes when someone refers to them as the best years of their life. All I can think is that their life went downhill from a small hill quickly.

    4. How far were you from home?
    About 600 miles. About right for me. 🙂

    5. Did you have the same roommates all four years?
    Same roommate for 2 years and different ones for the last two years.

    6. Where did you order food from at 2AM?
    Papa John’s. I have shame.

    7. Did you date in college or were you tied down?
    Some – but nothing serious at all.

    8. Funniest drunk college moment?

    I roadtripped with a bunch of friends to Chicago. They were all drunk and I was sober and wanted to go to the Sears tower. I took them to the John Hancock instead because it was so close and let them take pictures. They didn’t know until they got their pictures developed and saw the huge JOHN HANCOCK on the building above their heads.

    9. Did you make it to class on time?
    Yeah, I was on time. Rarely late.

    10. What was your favorite class in college?
    Hmm. None of them. 🙂 I honestly can’t think of one I truly loved. I liked employment law when I was in law school, though.


    • Wow biology, theology, radiation and then law school! You have quite the background. And you have a Venezuelan friend? I would love to meet her, please do tell her to come over, maybe we can connect via the blog. we need to connect in person too. Alejandra raves about you 😉

  2. Thanks for sharing… how interesting to learn about college/university in Venezuela! I should do this too sometime, because I had a different college experience in Germany, as well.

    • It will be interesting reading your. I’ve heard some about German education from friends, but I’m guessing everyone’s experience must be unique. I’m off to read about your 24 hours of pleasure in Hawaii, so jealous!

  3. I love that you filled out this survey for your own experiences. It is so cool reading about your experiences … and I cannot wait to learn more when I actually meet you!

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