Interview: Mayra Gurrola-Calderon ’20, Gilman Scholarship Recipient Posted on September 13th, 2019 by

Mayra (in the blue with veil) and other members of the cast of “Measure for Measure” at Gustavus

What is your study away plan? Would you please describe your program?
For the fall semester I will attending the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola in Cusco, Peru, through the CIS program. My program consist of immersing myself in the culture while volunteering and living with the people. The program also has the opportunity for students to go on excursion trips to the sacred valley or Machu Picchu. While I’m here I will also be doing the research for my independent study that focuses on the community and culture of Peru through my volunteer work and being able to talk about the importance of stories as a way of remembrance . I am hoping that on my return I can use my research to fuel my LALACS senior capstone which will be a play I’m hoping to write and direct for the spring.

What scholarship(s) or other funding have you received? How are these sources helping make your plans possible?
I have received the Gilman Scholarship and the CICE Gustavus Study Away Grant. Both of these scholarship are a huge factor in why I can study abroad and travel in the first place.  They have helped with the cost of my program and my flight to Cusco. 

What advice would you have for other students who would like to receive a study away scholarship or even maybe think they will not be able to afford to study away?
Do not ever believe you aren’t worthy of opportunities like this. Especially if you are a first generation student because One huge thing I learned from all of this is that you are not alone and that asking for help is okay. Don’t ever believe you are not being supported by those around you. Also sign up for all those scholarship regardless if you think you can’t because most likely you will be surprised with the outcome.

What are some of your other activities or interests? How is study away a part of the overall picture for you, given your various interests?
Beside being a LALACS major, I’m also a theatre major. I have huge passion in using Theatre as a lens in my roots as a Latinx Womxn. Since I feel that a huge part of Theatre is storytelling and the ability to keep those alive. I knew that I wanted to study in a Latin American country and also be able to go to my own country México so that I can completely try to tie the two things and tell the stories of those who I feel need representation. I am also a member of OLAS, the organization for Latinx American students here at Gustavus and that through this org it has even amplified my work as a student but as Latinx person.

What are your future plans? How do you imagine that studying away will contribute to reaching your goals?
Well I want to be able to continue Acting and doing theatre for a really long time. I am hoping to work with Teatro del Pueblo or any other company in the twin cities that focuses on representing underprivileged people. Because of this opportunity I have now I also want to be able travel to every Latin American country and relearn history.

What is one thing you hope to learn or experience while studying away, and also one fun activity or personal interest you hope to pursue?
As I’m preparing for my trip, a huge thing I want is to learn and listen. As for an activity, it has to be the opportunity to actually see and be in the sacred valley in real life!!!!!!!!


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