Meet Shorelight Student Ambassador Juan Carlos at Auburn Global

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By Sakina Taher
Last updated on August 11, 2023

Juan Carlos shares his journey from Brazil to Auburn University, and how his role ensures that fellow international students succeed on campus.

Auburn University

“Currently I am studying at Auburn as a computer engineering [major], and I am also working as [an] Auburn Global student ambassador,” said Juan Carlos, an international student from Brazil. 

His Chinese and Brazilian heritage gives him a unique perspective, allowing him to personally connect with and relate to international students, supporting them in adapting to life in the US. 

Read on to learn more about Juan Carlos’s journey to Auburn and his experiences as an international student in the US.  

An Appreciation for the Auburn Family 

Juan Carlos enjoys being part of Auburn’s close-knit community, especially compared to the fast-paced city life at home. 

“I lived in Brazil — in São Paulo, which is a really big city, and for that reason, I didn’t have time to engage with the community a lot,” he said. “So, [for university], I wanted a smaller community where I could engage more and Auburn was perfect for that.” 

Ranked #56 in First-Year Experiences by U.S. News & World Report, Auburn is known and respected for its welcoming learning environment and supportive student community, creating a great place for international students to live and study.

“Here at Auburn, there are a lot of people from other countries — there is an organization called International Student Organization where you can find a lot of people from every country,” Juan Carlos said. The ISO’s main focus is to foster multinational relationships and enhance student engagement with a better understanding of the culture and traditions within the university, so everyone feels like they belong. 

Making the Most of Student Life at Auburn University 

At its 1,875-acre campus, Auburn University brings together students from around the world, providing the opportunity to grow professional networks and build meaningful connections in a multicultural environment. 

With 550+ student organizations, students at Auburn can look forward to exploring a wide variety of interests while enhancing their professional skills. For example, students interested in sports can become part of Adaptive Recreation and Athletics and Fencing Club. Students can also participate in clubs related to their future professional fields such as the Actuarial Club, the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Student Chapter, and many more, to share ideas and discuss the latest industry developments. 

Juan Carlos encourages students to keep an open mind and immerse themselves in the campus community.

“In my opinion, definitely enjoy!” he said. “The clubs here, [meeting] new people here is really important, especially also for your career where you [make] contacts [with] other people. Joining the community here will help you a lot.”

Auburn — Excellence in the Classroom and Out

Juan Carlos admitted he needed some assistance with his studies at first. 

“The most tough subject I have taken is programming, since I am not the best, and I didn’t learn how to program before I came to Auburn,” he said. “I struggle [with] programming Java.” With support from his professors, he was able to stay on track and manage his studies. 

Auburn offers a lot of different types of help. There are a lot of tutors and there are also group studies, and you can just schedule a meeting with professors if you need any help. Auburn really helps a lot in that aspect.” — Juan Carlos, student ambassador, Auburn University 

Ultimately, Juan Carlos is an adventurer, passionate about learning new subjects and exploring his strengths. Recently, he won the Shorelight Social Summer Campaign photography challenge, where he submitted pictures of mountain vistas and even underwater snapshots. 

He is also inspired by Auburn’s breathtaking scenery and amazing views. “Especially at sunset, you can see a really really beautiful sky here,” he said. “It’s amazing. At night you can look at the stars and see really clearly, so that’s really amazing for me, the nature here.”

Juan Carlos’s Advice for International Students

Juan Carlos plans to continue building his skills and knowledge as an entrepreneur, with a goal of starting his own business one day. His advice to international students is to make big decisions and keep working hard to make them come true.

“Try [your] best to study abroad because it’s a really different experience,” Juan Carlos said, and encouraged international students to take the leap that can shape their future careers. “I think people really have to get out of their comfort zone to grow, so definitely try to come here to Auburn!”

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