Future looks brightBy Shannon O’Dea Dawson
Adriana Castano looks radiant as she prepares for graduation. Five years prior, to the day, she fled the violence and political instability in Columbia with her two children, now ages 12 and 13. She didn’t know then the bright future she would make for her family in Newfoundland.
“Memorial has provided a great foundation for me and my two children” reflects Ms. Castano. “I have accessed many resources at Memorial and the professors have really helped me. There are opportunities that exist here that weren’t available in Columbia.”
She recognizes the many people who have contributed to the success of her studies.
“Without a network of people to help, none of this would have been possible.”
Ms. Castano will graduate with a bachelor of arts degree majoring in sociology and classics on May 27. This complements her degree in languages from Columbia and her previous experience as a high school languages teacher in Columbia. She is fluent in Spanish, English and French.
While hoping to continue her education in women’s studies and working in the humanitarian field, specifically working with women, she is focused on her children and the debt incurred while completing her BA.
She has decided to work to re-pay her student loans and then continue her education.
“I think responsibly about debt and want to be a model for other immigrants who come to seek a better life,” stresses Ms. Castano. “It’s been a different kind of poverty, not merely financial, when you come to a new place, with no family or support. I resolved to begin again.”
Last May, Ms. Castano met her fiancé, Shyam Kutty, at the multicultural women’s organization of Newfoundland and Labrador. His mother is very involved with this group helping immigrants adjust to Canada. They are being married on July 12 and hope for sunshine. Ms. Castano has not seen her family for five years, as they remain in Columbia. She has become close with other Columbian families in St. John’s who celebrate Independence Day and other seasonal events together, helping her feel connected to her culture.
To top off her wonderful year, on July 1 Ms. Castano will become a Canadian citizen.