In the picture: Andrea Rodriguez (’18), Jessyca Santos (’17), Shraddha Bajaria (’16), Rahela Rezaei (’16), Keitsha Figueroa (’17)
Coming from five different countries (Honduras, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Afghanistan, Tanzania) for college in a small town in Vermont and finding a family in friends is what we describe our group as. We brought our past experiences and cultures thousands of miles away from home, just to make our own memories and group “traditions.”
Rahela and I were roommates since our first year. After the first few weeks of living together in Ryan Hall, I knew I had found my best friend in college, my buddy, the bravest girl I know. I was able to connect with her very easily, even though we had different personalities. We decided to live together for the following years.
Rahela and I met Keitsha at the Multicultural Affairs Office in our sophomore year, during a social for the first time. After that day, whenever she saw us in Alliot, she would join us and start talking about everything, from how she hates spiders to learning about the education systems in Tanzania and Afghanistan.
In mine and Rahela’s junior year, the global housing program (GEAR) in Cashman began. We were both very excited to be living with other international students. Keitsha was living on the same floor as us and we started to study together, hung out more often and got to know each other better. Andrea and Jessyca, freshmen at that time, were living with Keitsha. As juniors and a sophomore, Rahela, Keitsha and I wanted to make them feel welcomed. We tried to invite them to go to Alliot together or watch movies on the weekends. And by the end of that year, the five of us were the best of friends and it felt like we’ve known each other for a very long time.
Our love for each other is beyond that of “chilling together” or “grabbing coffee” – we encourage each other, give each other reality checks when needed and care about each other in more ways than words can describe.
We are all geographically far from each other currently, due to work and school. Our skype and facetime calls last for hours and our “important updates” are now done on our Whats-app group called – “Apart by the world but close in heart.”
We will forever be grateful for our experiences at Saint Michael’s College and cherish the memories we have created.
-Shraddha Bajaria (’16)