Douglas, 21, is in his third year at the Universidad Tecnológica de El Salvador, where he is studying English. He lives at home with his father, a carpenter’s assistant, his mother, a homemaker, and his two younger brothers. He is the first in his family to graduate high school, much less go to college. Douglas is up by 5 a.m. each day so he can catch the 6:30 bus that, after a two-hour journey, leaves him at the university. Classes end at 4 p.m., after which Douglas takes the bus back home where he spends the evening studying before turning in at 10pm. Though it is scarce, Douglas says, “I take advantage of my free time to study, rest, be active, and help around the house.” His mother tells us he is a model big brother and that he is always willing to help out.
We asked Douglas to answer a few questions to help you get to know him better. Below are his responses!
What are some of your professional aspirations?
To become a professional in the English language field with a teaching option and work for a prestigious university.
Why do you think your education is important?
My education is important because it provides me with opportunities for professional development. And thanks to my education, I’ll be able to do whatever I can for my community and family, who have put forth so much effort to support me in my studies.
Describe someone who has inspired or motivated you:
My father, Salvador, and my mother, Ines, have motivated me the most by always reminding me to prepare for the future. They also tell me not to give up when problems arise that might prevent me from reaching my goals. They let me know that I have the potential to succeed.
How has the crime/violence in this country affected you personally?
The violence has affected me a lot. I’ve been robbed twice and every time I travel to the university, I get scared that something will happen to me.
How do you think positive change can come about in your community or country?
One thing would be to make parents more aware of the necessity of giving their children a good education so that their kids don’t join gangs and so that those who are in gangs work to better themselves in a healthy, non-violent way.
Tell us about your community service project.
I’m working with other scholarship students on a backyard vegetable garden, which is an important project because I am getting experience working in a group and getting to learn about farming.
What do you do in your free time?
I mostly use my free time to work on homework, but sometimes I watch television.
What is your favorite music?
My favorite genres are electronica music and rock, as well as Christian music.
What are your best qualities?
I’m caring and I like to help others if they need it. I also like that I’m determined because if I weren’t, I’d encounter failure at the first sign of a problem.
What is something surprising about you that only a few people know?
One thing that not everyone knows about me is that I don’t like to get bad grades and I get frustrated if I do.
What would you say if you could speak face-to-face with your sponsors?
I would ask them: What have your greatest challenges, struggles, and triumphs been so far in life? Have you thought going back to school to study something new? In general, what are your likes and dislikes? What has been your biggest motivator to become who you are today? If you had the chance to travel, would you come to El Salvador? What was your inspiration to support this project?