Jonathan, 23, is in his fifth year at the National University of El Salvador where he is studying Psychology. He lives at home with his mother, father, older and younger brothers, and two aunts. His father works as a janitor and his mother works sporadically as a maid and also has been asked to prepare meals for the priest when he is in the community. His mother and aunts also sell baked goods out of their home and are well-known in the community for their culinary skills.

Most days, Jonathan is up by 5 a.m. so he can leave home at 6 to catch the bus to the university. After a two-hour bus ride, Jonathan arrives on campus at 8 to begin classes, which end some days at 12 p.m. and other days at 7 p.m. He then returns home and spends the rest of the day helping around the house and studying until nearly 11 p.m.

We asked Jonathan 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 work as a workplace psychologist.

Why do you think your education is important?

Through education I can become more knowledgeable about social problems from an in-depth, psychological perspective. And with that, I can offer solutions through therapy, which contributes to people’s positive mental health.

Describe someone who has inspired or motivated you:

My parents Juana and José Cruz motivate me by their example and dedication. They always give me the best and try to teach me things that will serve me well into my future.

How has the crime/violence in this country affected you personally?

The violence affects me psychologically. You live in a general state of fear and anxiety here because of the things you’ve gone through. It’s worse on public transportation than anywhere else because gang members get on and rob people at knife point.

How do you think positive change can come about in your community or country?

One solution would be to better integrate families into their children’s education and hold them responsible. Also, there should be more strict and rigid laws against corruption and against those who break the law, as the application of law is necessary to the proper functioning of a democratic state.  Lastly, and more extremely, laws that support the death penalty like in the United States, where they apply laws as severe as the electric chair or lethal injection.

Tell us about your community service project.

I work with the Clean Water Project. It’s important because it makes people aware about the current quality of our water as well as the benefits that can be gained from drinking purified water.

What do you do in your free time?

I play soccer.

What is your favorite book or genre?

I’d like to read the DSM-V [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders], where all the psychological diseases are listed.

What is your favorite music?

Electronica music, rock, and rap.

What are your best qualities?

I’m perseverant, hardworking, and attentive.

What is something surprising about you that only a few people know?

Something people don’t know about me is that it bothers me and makes me mad to lose or have to wait.

If you had five minutes of the whole world’s attention, what would you say?

From the dawn of human existence, we have been living in war, passing from one conflict into the next. But why? Why do we create destruction? Why do we devour each other? WHY?! If we are all equal, we are all one. Peace is not achieved through wars nor violence, because we blind ourselves and we are incapable of seeing the solution, even when it is within our grasp. True peace and freedom is achieved through mutual cooperation and doing good works for the whole world, because we are all equal, regardless of what we think and say.

What would you say if you could speak face-to-face with your sponsors?

“What is your expectation of me? What moved you to support this project? Would you like to come to El Salvador if you had the chance? Do you have any hobbies, and if so, what are they?”