My name is Antonia Angel and I am an international student here at Cal Poly. I am currently in my fifth year, working towards my architecture degree and my sustainable environments minor. I was born in Medellin, Colombia, where I grew up until I was 18. My family moved to Bilbao, Spain, three years ago and I’ve been living there every summer since then! I chose to attend Cal Poly because of our renowned architecture program, our beautiful campus surrounded by gorgeous nature and because the idea of living on the coast of California for five years really excited me. I am very happy I made the decision to come to Cal Poly, and the opportunities I have received here are immense.

While at Cal Poly, I was presented with the opportunity to study abroad, and even though I am already an international student, I thought it would be worth it to get even more cultural exposure and pursue my passion for traveling some more. Japan has always been at the top of my bucket list, and when I saw there was a Cal Poly Global Program for Architecture in Tokyo, I jumped at the opportunity.

Being in Japan for a quarter was a transformative experience. Even though I am used to change and travel, being in Japan was the furthest I have ever been from my comfort zone. I was so proud that I had found a way to get to Japan and study architecture there, and I felt like I was actively pursuing my dreams and passions. I met two of my best friends while I was on the program, people I know I will have amazing relationships with for a long time to come. My favorite memories of Japan are the days we spent at Naoshima Island, an island that is known for its museums, art installations and architecture. As an architecture student, Naoshima is the holy grail, it’s what you have seen in books and magazines and I always dreamed to see in person one day. My experiences in this island were spiritual in a way, and for a few days I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be.

My decision to become a Study Abroad Peer Advisor comes from a place of understanding and empathy. As someone who has traveled on her own for various academic and volunteer programs since I was 14, I have experienced many of the challenges that come with traveling and studying abroad. I have had years to learn how to tackle these challenges and felt deeply that I could help students by relating to their situation. In this role, I have learned students are willing to go above and beyond to make their dreams of studying abroad come true, and it is very rewarding to help them in that process. Study abroad is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and students at Cal Poly really value it as such. Study abroad is truly an act of self-love and an investment in personal growth.

My desire to keep traveling and to keep expanding my knowledge of different cultures has inspired me to apply to graduate school in Europe, in both Spain and the UK. I hope the next chapter in my life will give me even more perspective and I will continue to meet wonderful people from all kinds of different backgrounds and origins.

~ Antonia