International Perspectives: Alejandro Paniagua ’17 International Perspectives, Business Administration and Environmental Studies Double Major, San Jose, Costa Rica
“By coming to W&L, I received the opportunity to make the world my classroom and W&L my home. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and explore the world, which was exactly what W&L allowed me to do.”
What are you involved in here on campus?
I am the Translation Chair of ESOL, a member of Washington and Lee Student Consulting, treasurer of the Biological Honor Society, and a member of International Education Committee.
Tell us about home. What do you miss most?
I come from a small family in San Jose, Costa Rica. It is just my mom, dad and my two grandparents. I have uncles and a cousin in Panama, but I don’t see them as often. What I miss about home is just having the weekend with my family to relax, stay home and be lazy. I also miss going to the beach with my close friends at any time of the year. As you could imagine, winter is not my favorite season.
Talk a bit about your prior study abroad experience, if any?
In summer 2014 I did research in Queensland, Australia through the School for Field Studies. I was there for a month and worked with restoration and conservation techniques, Specifically biological control mechanisms for the cane toad invasive population. That fall I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, with DIS, through the entrepreneurship and international business core class. It was amazing to get to experience a new culture and a new way to conduct business.
Last summer I was able to take a student back to Costa Rica to learn about the politics, educational system, and conservation practices of the country and compare them to those in the U.S.
What brought you to Washington and Lee?
I have always been interested in international relations and international business. I love to travel and learn from different cultures and perspectives. By coming to W&L, I received the opportunity to make the world my classroom and W&L my home. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and explore the world, which was exactly what W&L allowed me to do by supporting my interests—something I would never had the opportunity to do back in Costa Rica.
What has been most surprising about W&L and Lexington so far?
What surprised me the most was the strong sense of community fostered by W&L. Even after students graduate or faculty/staff leave this institution, people still feel drawn and connected to W&L.
I don’t particularly recall a favorite class, but I did enjoy “Race in the Media” with Professor Colon in the Journalism department, where we studied how race is used and portrayed in media outlets and news.
Tell us about life in Lexington.
Life in Lexington is very interesting. Even though it is not a big town, it is still a very nice place to live with its quaint streets and stores. It is definitely a unique town that I’m glad I got to experience.