International student adjusts to life at Baker

Story by Sara

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At Baker University, the study abroad program is often discussed and supported, but one international student is experiencing a culture shock in Baldwin City.

When Amity Scholar Ana Belen Henriquez-Bravo left her home in Tome, Chile, it was her first time in the United States and the first time she would leave her home country.

“At the beginning, (the biggest transition) was the cultural shock and the differences between relationships between friends and family,” Henriquez-Bravo said. “I would say that we are closer. We give hugs and kisses, and so here it is very different. When you meet someone here you shake hands and for me that’s weird, but it’s just a different cultural thing.”

After hearing about the Amity Scholar program at her university in Concepcion, Henriquez-Bravo applied and then received an email invitation to come to Baker.

Henriquez-Bravo’s responsibilities include assisting all Spanish classes and being a resource to both professors and students, as well as taking a couple of courses for credit.

Assistant Professor of Spanish Diego Frazier said he cannot praise Henriquez-Bravo enough for the assistance she provides to the Spanish department.

“She has been a godsend, she really has,” Frazier said. “I had some family issues… this fall, and so I had to miss several classes and Ana Belen stepped in and covered for me in those classes, which is a real luxury to have an extra person who can do that, and do it more than competently.”

Henriquez-Bravo is studying to be an English teacher, so teaching Frazier’s classes was a new experience for her.

“Teaching Spanish here was kind of different because you think you know everything about your own language. The students had questions about grammar that I didn’t know, so that was kind of hard that I had to deal with that. But, I mean, in the end it worked,” Henriquez-Bravo said.

Frazier said she has not only been beneficial to him, but to the entire department.

“She’s just a wonderful presence here and a wonderful personality,” Frazier said. “She just makes so many more things possible for the department in terms of interacting with the students directly.”

Humanities Department Assistant Barbara Coffey also commended Henriquez-Bravo’s personality. Coffey said Henriquez-Bravo is “cheerful, quick with a laugh or a smile and just a real joy to be around.”

“She’s very ambitious and serious about her studies,” Coffey said. “Although, I think she likes to have fun, too. She’s really been great. She’s a lot of fun to have here and a big asset.”

Henriquez-Bravo will return to Chile after the end of the spring semester, where she will continue her education for two more years.