Jose Quintero

UWC attended: United World College of the Adriatic (Italy)
Class Year: Class of 2016

Unlike many of the other UWCers joining me as a freshman at Lewis & Clark College (I’m a little late on writing this profile, so I’ve read what they posted), when asked where I come from, my answer is pretty straightforward. It is only when they ask me “how come you can speak English then?” that my response gets a little complicated. You see, I’m from Guatemala, a beautiful although poor country in Latin America.  Like many central American countries, we are very much influenced by the U.S.A. We get American T.V, fast food chains and clothing stores. This means of course that our culture has become to different degrees “occidental,” and we no longer eat bananas for every meal. Plantains on the other hand are constantly present on our tables, but I digress.

Along with this “occidentalization” came American private schools.  Through my parents’ effort, I was lucky to attend one of these institutions, where I studied English and learned about the world. A very occidental world, though at the moment I was unaware of this.

It was January 2010 when I found out about the United World Colleges, and a short 6 months later I found myself in beautiful Duino, Italy at UWC of the Adriatic.  While I was once unable to freely walk in the streets, as it can be dangerous to do so in Guatemala City, I was now in a place where freedom, both physical and mental, was the norm. Though it was not this new found liberation that shocked me the most.  What truly surprised me was how different people could be to what I expected, and how one-sided my view of the world was. As I sat down to drink a cup of tea with my Indian, Maldivian, Spanish, Bangladeshi, Italian and American friends, I learned more about the world than I ever had. Lucky for me, we really liked tea, so these reunions became a regular thing. Even when not with my usual group of friends, the amount of people in the college and their diversity managed to teach me more than any other school could have.

This learning becomes addictive, and so as my 2 years at Adriatic came to an end, I was forced to find an institution where I could continue my high quality academic studies, while maintaining this sense of a liberal cultural community. And so, I stumbled upon Lewis and Clark.

Apart from drinking tea with my friends, I love playing sports, like soccer and volleyball, but my favorite thing is music. I play guitar and a little piano, but my main instrument is my voice. I love singing jazz and folk, no matter if it’s by myself or with a band.

While at Lewis and Clark, I plan to major in Rhetoric and Media Studies, while maybe minoring in computer science. I one day want to become a music producer, so studying media and how in interacts with people is a fairly logical step. Hopefully, after 4 years at Lewis and Clark, I’ll be one step closer to my goal.