Building Unbreakable Bonds

July 10, 2023

Left, upper: students in class; left, down: person reading to students; right: selfie of students giving thumbs up

Written by: Jessica Aldana, Caminos al Futuro 2023

It’s officially been a week since our arrival to Caminos al Futuro, and already I feel that I’ve known my peers for months. From moving tables in the dining hall to eating breakfast together to making ridiculous TikToks in front of the Washington Monument, the thirteen of us share an unparalleled bond, especially through our shared experiences as Latinos.

Today’s list of adventures included visiting the GW Law School, where we had a workshop with one of the professors, Paulina Vera. She elaborated on her work as an immigration lawyer, a field that interests many of my peers, and we got to analyze two immigration cases to decide which form(s) of relief they were eligible for.

We then split up for lunch, and I was craving an arepa pabellón from ArepaZone (I highly recommend) before our lecture with Trey Johnston, the Associate Director of the Cisneros Institute. In class, we tried out an exercise where we had to pick a prompt from a bag and talk about it for a minute. We heard speeches on how spinach is good for our health and on the right way to eat cereal, and I spoke on my favorite computer game, Roblox (it has an infinite variety of games that caters to all interests). Afterwards, we discussed different strategies for writing our Common App essays, and I won’t lie when I say that these workshops have proven extremely helpful in organizing how I plan to write my personal statement.

Finally, we transitioned into a workshop with Samuel Miranda, a Puerto Rican poet who not only read some of his own works, but gave us two prompts to work with: “When I walk into a room, I bring with me…” and “When I leave a room, I leave…” As some of us teared up from reflecting on our pasts, we then got into groups and meshed our poems together and performed the results for each other. This exercise was not only practice for public speaking, but it also gave me more insight on my friends’ home lives and how similar and/or different they are from mine.

I cannot express how amazing of an opportunity and experience Caminos al Futuro has been so far. I’m convinced that I won’t just leave GW with a further understanding of the Latino community and an initiative to set in place at home, but I’ll also have long-lasting friendships with like-minded Latino students!

Jessica Aldana is a Caminos al Futuro 2023 scholar. Jessica’s views are her own and not necessarily reflective of the Cisneros Institute.