Students of MI: Heriberto

“I originally wanted to stay in Chicago, but the University of Michigan gave me such a great financial aid package. It was a pretty easy transition because if I ever felt homesick, I was just a train ticket away.

I’m in the Comprehensive Studies Program conducted by Summer Bridge. Summer Bridge provides extra help for students their freshmen year before the whole population comes in. It was nice because it gave me a feel of how classes run here, and I got to know the campus before everyone else arrived. Since I’m in CSP, I have a small population with our own academic advisors and financial aid advisors, and without a doubt they are always able to help me.

Once the school year started, the number of students surprised me the most. I went to a very small high school, and a school that was predominantly Latino. It was 98 percent Latino and coming to Michigan it’s only six percent. Now, I have an organization called La Casa that consists of 400 plus Latinos and it’s a community space where we come together and share our experiences here. Growing up in an area where most of the people come from a similar background, and then coming here, is definitely hard at first.

It’s hard to find people who are like you, and classes can be a little bit intimidating when you don’t have someone who has a similar background as you or came from the same place as you. Although I have classes with 200 students, I also have some with 20 students – and that’s the chance to engage with people. Topics in class can be sensitive, and people see that they can relate to you, and that’s how you connect with one another. As time passes on, you get used to it and you get accustomed to the environment. It’s interesting to see how students may not look like you, but they still may think like you. It’s interesting to find the ways in which we are connected even though we are different.

At first, it’s going to be a bit rough, and depending on where you come from, you might feel a bit different or that the university is too big, but there are people who can relate to you. It’s all about finding connections – reach out and explore the university. There’s a lot of programs and organizations that will make you feel like you’re at home, don’t think that you have to do it by yourself.”

(Heriberto, Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience, University of Michigan)



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