Engineer by passion

By: Angélica Ortiz Blanco

Since his first years of school, Rafael attended bilingual schools and learned English as a second language but he kept using it daily. He was very fluent speaking it but sometimes when asked he would get nervous and didn’t know how to answer.

Rafael grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico a place known for its tourism. Being in that environment helped him to practice his English because he usually get asked by the tourists for places, restaurants and other interesting stuff to do in the capital city.

When you see Rafael walking around the Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico with his backpack and jeans, sunglasses and cell phone quickly heading to another class he might seem like any other guy studying civil engineering. When you establish a conversation with him you notice that he’s very friendly and humble, likes to party and spend time with his friends and at the same time is very responsible with college work.

Beach volleyball is one of Rafael favorite’s sports. He’s been playing it since high school and he finds in it a way to entertain himself while he represents his island.

In 2007 Rafael visited California to play beach volleyball with his team and he had the opportunity to socialize with the other players. After that he went on a family trip where he had to translate for his family and he also socialized with other people. In 2010 he enrolled in college.

He wants to earn his MA in the United States because he wants to get more experience in his field but after graduation he wants to live and work here. He says there’s nothing like Puerto Rico.

‘’I’m very grateful that I know English because it gives me a lot of opportunities like job interviews or social encounters. The fact that I don’t only know Spanish but English as well gives me great pleasure.”



Rafael admiring the beauty of Puerto Rico on a trip to Vieques. He took a walk by the beach and thought of what the future might bring for him, he hopes to remain living here.


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