Bonjour le monde! Good morning world! It is time to meet Paola Andrea Sierra.
Growing up speaking only Spanish at home, Sierra did not start learning English until she started school, and ever since then she has had an affinity for languages.
She liked learning languages so much that she chose another romantic language, French, when she had the opportunity in high school.
Now Sierra, 21, is a senior at Queens College who studies French, Spanish, and secondary education while maintaining an average of 3.8 out of 4 points. She always wanted to be a teacher and for this reason would like to receive her MA in French language and teaching when she graduates in May 2010.
Her dream of living in Paris came true when Sierra spent the past spring semester in the city of lights. This highly motivated student took part in the international curriculum of her college where she lived alone for six months while studying courses in literature, writing, and French at the University of Nanterre.
“So far this has been the most important learning experience I've had,” Sierra said. This was the first time she was away from her family. And besides the courses in Paris, Sierra had a job as an English tutor for students in engineering and made many friends. “This helped me learn more about myself and grow as an individual.”
During her stay in Paris, Paola experienced the expected cultural shock but after getting used to the new culture, Paola lived each day to the fullest. “I always kept in mind that anything is possible if you apply yourself.”
Paola found out about the language program at Queens College through her high school counselor at Bayside, where she took advanced classes. Being a very talented singer, Paola had to appear at an audition to be accepted into the school, where she joined the school choir group and had the opportunity to sing in concert at Carnegie Hall.
Besides taking classes, Paola works as a mentor in the office of the Freshman Year Initiative (FYI), and also mentors French for other students of Queens College.
Paola's interests are music and her family, which she considers very important. A Woodside resident, Sierra lives with her parents who are from Colombia and her 24 year old sister, who graduated from Brooklyn College.
“My parents did not have an advanced education, but it was for them I could see how many opportunities there are that we must seize," she said.
“I do it for me but also for them. I want to return everything they gave me. They value education and I've also learned to value this as well”, she concluded.