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JP Linares ’24 enjoys spending time in the grounds he helped tend this summer.

Peru Students Blaze New Paths to SNC

When JP Linares ’24 decided to enroll in a college on another continent, he was all prepared to pack up and make the journey to De Pere. His college journey would start with just a few steps – attending classes via computer while still at home in his native Peru.

“At first, I was not happy,” he says, “because I wanted to start with all the freshmen [on campus] at the same time. But, I realized that ... it was a special situation I could not do anything about.”

Linares’ first year as a St. Norbert student was compromised by COVID travel restrictions, but he resolved to continue, becoming the most remote beneficiary of SNC’s hybrid learning options throughout his inaugural semester. Though the situation was a challenging one, there were bright spots in his virtual entry to college. Not only did Linares find his professors to be incredibly understanding, but his recorded lectures gave him an additional resource to be successful.

In true college student fashion, Linares found one aspect of virtual classes particularly appealing: “And also, it was nice to ... wake up three minutes before class and just be on time.”

A pair from Peru
Linares was able to travel to St. Norbert for an in-person second semester this spring and his evolving first year brought further new experiences: Over the summer, he stayed on campus working with the grounds crew. He says he enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the other people on the crew and the opportunity to use his summer free time to explore Green Bay and De Pere.

Linares is not the only student from Peru to have an unexpected first-year experience. His classmate Jaime Morales ’24, who first studied at the college as an ESL student, spent his first semester attending virtual classes from Peru as well and continued virtually for the rest of the year. Now, he, too, is enjoying his sophomore year in-person.

A volleyball welcome
Linares was concerned that a virtual first semester would make it difficult to connect with people who were already friends. He credits his teammates on the men’s volleyball team for helping him feel welcome. When he arrived in the spring, he stayed in Michels Hall with some of his teammates, and he is living with them again in Michels this year.

He says: “When I arrived here and I couldn’t go to my classes in-person or meet more people, I already had this kind of family. Right now, I would say that they are my closest friends on campus. They were expecting me when I arrived, like they were looking out for me. That was really nice. That is something I will remember.”

He’s enjoying the community-oriented outlook he sees, too: “[Students, faculty and staff] encourage you to volunteer a lot. I’ve been looking for programs to volunteer here on campus, or for the community in general, and right on the website you can find anything.

“Something that I personally like about SNC is the size of the classes, because I don’t think they are too big or too small. I think the professors are really interested and focused on you.”

Meeting people is his favorite part of being at SNC, but as to his favorite place on campus, Linares enjoys the beauty and peacefulness of the Shakespeare Garden. (He and other international students at St. Norbert this year speak about their favourite places on campus in this recent video interview.)

Linares is at the college to work on obtaining an international studies degree and a minor in German. He hopes that he will be able to study abroad in Germany.

Oct. 20, 2021