By Lenore T. Adkins

If you wind up going to college in the United States, do as many internships as possible and be sure to leave a good impression on your bosses and coworkers.

Those are the people who can lead you to a future job, says Belén Robles, an academic adviser for EducationUSA in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Robles, 26, knows what she’s talking about.

On May 9, 2015, she graduated from the University of Evansville in Indiana with a degree in business and economics and a minor in political science. Two days later, she became an academic adviser at the EducationUSA center in Guayaquil, where she offers students guidance in how to apply to and succeed at U.S. colleges and universities.

Robles says she opted for an American university because she wanted a good education that would allow her to contribute to her community in Ecuador.

“I wanted to be Ecuador’s president at that point,” she says, “so I wanted to prepare as much as I should, because I thought politics was a way to make a change.” She no longer has her eye on Carondelet Palace, but that doesn’t mean she has lost her ambition to help others.

Participants in the “5 Steps to Study in the U.S.” session at the Binational Center in Quito in June 2019. (© Luis Gorotiza)

Participants in the “5 Steps to Study in the U.S.” session at the Binational Center in Quito in June 2019. (© Luis Gorotiza)

Robles reveled in the University of Evansville, where she met students from Africa, the Middle East and other parts of South America. She says it was like traveling the world without leaving school.

Before enrolling at the University of Evansville, Robles had visited a public high school and a university in the United States, so she was somewhat familiar with the education system. Now she has more experience and expertise, and she offers these tips to students who are curious about study in the U.S.:

  1. Take advantage of the fact that American universities give you the flexibility to take courses beyond your major, making you a more well-rounded person and allowing you to try several academic areas before settling on a major field of study. “You can practice [in different fields] — you can really find your passion.”
  2. Get to know your professors. If your grades slip or if you stop showing up for class, the professor can probably tell you’re dealing with a personal issue — homesickness, for example — and get you the help you need without penalizing you. “They know you’re a good student and that you’re going through something.”
  3. Stay healthy. Play intramural sports, go to the gym or take fitness classes. Especially, resist the temptation to eat everything in sight at the dining halls. “If you don’t eat well, that’s going to affect your body, and you’re not going to be awake enough to study,” Robles says.

Students who want to study in the U.S. can find resources at EducationUSA.

This article was written by freelance writer Lenore T. Adkins.

Banner image: EducationUSA's Belén Robles (left) visits Ecuador's VITO TV in September 2019. (© Luis Gorotiza)