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From Colombia to Cornell

Students walking on central campus at Cornell University, early summer
Inspired by My Advisors

Getting to know Cornell is not only an amazing experience in terms of academics and knowledge, but also an important lesson in dedication and persistence.

Why did you choose to study at Cornell University?

My admiration for Cornell University was initially developed thanks to my advisors at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá. Both of them had the opportunity to work and study at Cornell, and they transmitted to me all their love for this place.

However, when I did more research on it, what really got me into the idea of traveling to Cornell was its motto: “Any person, any study”—it just filled my heart completely and convinced me that I had to be part of that.        

Juliana Tobón enjoying a walk along a gorge trail on the Cornell campus.Describe a typical day for you on the Cornell campus.

I did a summer internship at Cornell. A typical day for me: I woke up, had breakfast, prepared a coffee to-go, and then took the TCAT bus to campus. Once there, I got off the bus at Sage Hall or Bradfield Hall. Then I walked to the Plant Science Building, went upstairs to the second floor, and entered the lab of Professor Keith Perry. I said hi to all the people present and walked to my bench.

It is difficult for me to define a typical day at the lab, since each day was different for me. Sometimes I worked by myself, some others I received full guidance from the senior researcher at the lab, and others, especially the last month of the internship, I helped an undergrad student with her experiments.

But what I can say about my routine at the lab is that it was always a challenge. Every day I had to prepare myself and manage to overcome difficulties and problems regarding lab work. I usually stopped work at the lab between 5 and 6 p.m. At this time of the day I always tried to get to know a new place in campus or in the city. Then I headed home and usually watched a movie or, if necessary, reviewed my lab notes to prepare my next day.

What was something surprising that you saw. learned or experienced at Cornell?

The people at Cornell are surprisingly diverse.

What's one of the best things you experienced at Cornell?

The best thing I experienced at Cornell was getting to know the people there. I was amazed about how nice they all are. Not a single person at Cornell University made me feel unwelcomed. When I needed something, there was always someone to help. That is something very much valuable for a person who’s far away from home.

How do you expect your Cornell experience will affect your future?

Cornell is affecting my future in such a positive way. My summer at Cornell helped me develop some necessary skills that I am now applying in my master’s thesis back home. As well, I have plans to go back to Cornell and develop some lab experiments—these will be a great input for my future as a scientist.

What advice would you give other international students who are thinking about studying at Cornell?

I would encourage others to do it! Getting to know Cornell is not only an amazing experience in terms of academics and knowledge, but also an important lesson in dedication and persistence.

Students get to know people full of dreams and plans—for me, these people served as life examples that I want to follow.

As well, not only the campus but also the city of Ithaca are beautiful—the perfect place for hard work but also fun, enjoyable activities.


Visiting International Students
United States
Agriculture & Life Sciences
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