Flyers Embracing Global Experiences: Paola Ortiz

Paola Ortiz recently graduated with a marketing degree from the University of Dayton (UD). She is currently pursuing her graduate degree and serves as a Graduate Assistant for the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Originally from Puerto Rico, learn more about how UD has helped shape and inspire her interests in intercultural education.  

What has influenced or shaped your passion for international education and exchange?

International and intercultural education have been a big part of my life. I lived in the Global Learning Living Community (GLLC) for two years. In that experience I met people from Brazil, Spain, France, and Germany, to name a few. Meeting people from around the world opened my mind. I had the opportunity to later visit Spain with some of the Spanish girls I met in the GLLC and that allowed me to learn more about their culture. I wish all people had the opportunity to have a similar experience whether it’s going abroad or coming to the U.S.

Can you share an intercultural experience or moment that inspired you?

Living in the GLLC changed my perspective on people. While in the GLLC, I met a student from Japan. Sitting down with her and developing a relationship with her inspired and impacted me because she shared a lot about how coming to the U.S. was enriching both academically and personally. There were a number of students from Japan in the community and they became close to our Puerto Rican community. This particular student has already visited Puerto Rico twice and she visited UD again a few months ago. 

In your opinion, what are some benefits to international education and exchange?

Having the opportunity to create multiple perspectives about multiple cultures. One of the biggest benefits I have seen on campus is having international students in my class group projects. Having opinions and diverse perspectives helps us come up with some good ideas because we all think different about the same thing, especially in the business world.

Where is a place you have always wanted to explore, and why?

Greece because of the food!  It looks so good! I sense there are some similarities to Puerto Rico in vibe with the beaches. But, at the same time, I also want to see Alaska and explore a cold region.

What is one aspect or memory of home that you still embrace today?

Christmas in Puerto Rico starts early and goes until the second week of January. My birthday is on Three Kings Day which is a prominent tradition in Hispanic culture. Many people don’t know about this day. We get shoe boxes and put grass in it for the camels and then put it under the bed, waiting for the three kings and camel to come and bring gifts. The gifts are typically small in scale but kids will always get a bicycle for one of the Three Kings Day.

Who is someone that has inspired you or you believe to be a role model for global leadership? Why?

My cousin spent two years in China, teaching English. Now he is studying International Law with the hope of practicing in China. I feel I’m in his shadow… or trying to follow his steps. He went to China not only to teach but also to learn the language and about the culture. Our family was a bit surprised and as a result of his decision my family visited China for the first time which has had a lasting impact on everyone. I hope I have a similar opportunity to explore the world further and become passionate about something.
If you had to pick a life motto or quote, what would it be? Why?

“Don’t leave for tomorrow, what you can do today.”
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