Jorge Santana “Those kids will be the big memory of my internship. I will remember their names and the things they used to say all my life.”

Jorge Santana never thought of his large family in Ecuador as being a privilege. And then came his SMC summer internship at John Adams Pre-School. “A lot of those kids were unhappy be-cause they didn’t have a father or a mother,” recalls Jorge. “One kid told me that his father was in jail and that he sometimes goes to see him. And that was very sad for me because, in my own childhood, I never had to face those situations.”

Overall, Jorge felt a warm enthusiasm for his work at John Adams. “It was a great situation,” he says. “I never worked with kids before, and it’s an opportunity everyone should have. You don’t take children seriously until you work with them and watch them with each other. Then you learn to respect them and you begin to understand ways to help them better. Providing love and support—reading to them, teaching them a little tennis—this is good for kids,” says Jorge. “And I have to admit, it was a lot of fun for me too.”

Jorge plans to transfer to LMU, eventually to get his MBA. “I will hopefully work in TV or radio because I’m interested in the media. Communications is a lot of fun, and I think going back to Ecuador with my degree is very likely. Markets are really opening up in Central and South America,” he adds. “And my opportunities there are going to be greater.” But whatever opportunities cross his path in the future, Jorge reports that he’ll always be grateful to SMC.

“The money I got for my scholarship was great because it’s paid almost 20% of the cost of my first year at LMU,” he says. “But SMC in general is the best school I’ve ever been to, especially the International Students Center. The people there were always helpful, and I have to thank them for my education,” adds Jorge. “They were really my family here and they were the ones I always turned to whenever I needed help.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.